Warriors start playoff road, without LeBron there at the end

Warriors start playoff road, without LeBron there at the end

With Chicago's frontcourt bolstered by the acquisition of former Piston Dennis Rodman, Jordan's first year back was marked by a spectacular regular season in which they went 72-10, a record that stood as the best of all time until the Warriors topped it in 2015-16. It was the fifth time in his career to achieve that, but that wasn't enough for Heat to get into the playoffs.

San Antonio is in the postseason for a record-tying 22nd consecutive season. The Bucks will host the Pistons, the Raptors will have home court advantage over the Magic, the 76ers will face off against the emerging Nets and the Celtics will host the Pacers. "Playoffs don't always come around".

Can any team stop Golden State from winning another National Basketball Association title?

Curry and the Warriors are favored to win the title again this season. I think that kind of veteran leadership will lead the Raptors to the only sweep in the first round this year, and they will easily take the series in four games.

You could argue the Thunder have a legitimate shot to make the conference finals, but they likely won't make it past Golden State or Houston.

The Warriors and Chicago are now tied for third with six championships each. Nowitzki spent all his 21 National Basketball Association seasons in Mavericks, so there are definitely more to expect from Doncic.

That's a really good omen for the Bucks.

This should be a fun series between L.A. and Golden State.

Reigning champions Golden State Warriors are considered a "super-team" given their level of star power and are heavy favourites to retain their crown at 4/9. Curry averaged 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game in the regular season. Instead, he's working on crafting his own game and he's focused on winning rather than becoming the next Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.

Durant was the last to do it, in 2013-14. Pachulia closed out aggressively, Leonard didn't have space to land safely and he missed the rest of that series.

Even though the last game was a blowout, the series between Denver and San Antonio has stayed fairly competitive.

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Goalie Connor Hellebuyck was not as sharp this season as he was previous year and that might be a concern against a hot team. The starters for both teams remain a mystery heading into Thursday, as both relied on a goaltending committee in 2018-19.

The Dubs are playing an underdog Los Angeles Clippers in round one of the NBA Playoffs.

Houston Rockets' James Harden has been a scoring machine this season, netting over 30 points in 32 games in a row and averaging 36.6 points per game.

That stat only takes regular-season games into account. Denver's rotation guys - other than Paul Millsap - aren't swimming in postseason experience, and the question becomes how equipped they are to handle this stage.

That's the amount of this year's NBA Playoff Pool - a record. To give credit where credit is due, the Clippers deserve to be commended for making the playoffs despite trading away Tobias Harris and being the far less popular LA-based team.

In the case of futures bets, a "minus" sign would be placed next to a team or player that has a higher probability of reaching the statistical goal. Conference finalists get another $638,094. No other team can win that much.

History suggests the Rockets are in trouble.

Teams are lining up to seize his old spot atop the East, all capable of providing the intrigue that was absent the last couple years.

This is definitely a new series, and the Warriors like how they have come together from a topsy-turvy season that featured embarrassing losses at home, a rarity in recent years.

DeMarcus Cousins will play in his first-ever postseason. But first, they will have to get there. When he plays for the Warriors this weekend, and when Kyle O'Quinn - now No. 2 on the list with 443 regular-season games without a postseason minute - plays for IN, the new active leader IN games played without a postseason appearance will be Brandon Knight. We have an elite Blazers squad missing their second best player facing off against a slumping Thunder team that doesn't look like it has two superstars on the roster.

The Warriors got off to a tremendous start in the first quarter of Game 1, sinking seven 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes alone.