Cheatsheet: All You Need To Know Ahead Of The NBA Playoffs

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Houston finished third in the western conference at 53-28 and will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

Taking the phrase "putting the team on your back" to a whole new level, he broke the 50-point threshold nine times this season, became the first player in National Basketball Association history to score more than 30 points against all 29 teams in the league, and produced the second-longest scoring streak ever with 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, second to only Wilt Chamberlain. They will hold the home advantage over any other team in playoffs. With Oladipo gone, forward Bojan Bogdanovic averaged a career-high 18 points per game.

L.A. Clippers at Golden State, 8 p.m.

Of course it also doesn't hurt to know that you're signing on for a guaranteed trip to the NBA Finals every year, especially after you just choked away a 3-1 series lead to that same team in the Western Conference Finals. The second round cannot begin until April 27 at the earliest, the conference finals couldn't start before May 12 and the NBA Finals will start on May 30.

Elsewhere, the Warriors' pair of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are well used to leading their side to titles having won the last two while Boston and Philadelphia both have star-studded line ups with the likes of Kyrie Irving and Joel Embiid on show. The Pistons' only chance to win one of the first two games in Milwaukee is to get Antetokounmpo into foul trouble by pounding the ball down low with Griffin.

The officials told Durant that they would send the footage to the league office after the game, where it could be reviewed. It's hard to say how much he'll be able to contribute in the playoffs.

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No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers (48-34) vs. Doc Rivers merits consideration for that achievement alone.

- The Warriors beat Los Angeles in three of their four matchups during the regular season.

"Just play basketball, that's what we're out on the court to do", Curry said. They are looking for a fifth consecutive conference title and 11 conference title overall in franchise history. It wasn't until the last game of the season for the seeding to become set in stone, causing middle of the pack teams to switch.

That is what the sportsbooks are predicting, with the Clippers listed as 55/1 underdogs to win the best-of-seven series at DraftKings Sportsbook ... or to put it another way, the Warriors being listed as -20000 (200/1) to advance to the second round. Starting center Jusuf Nurkic is out for the season (and possibly a lot longer) after suffering a horrific leg injury.

The following seasons produced much more dramatic Finals experiences.

They came through a testing opening-round series with the Sacramento Kings and a seven-game Conference Finals series with the Portland Trail Blazers before overcoming the Pacers in six games in the Finals, O'Neal racking up 41 points in the close-out game and adding Finals MVP to his league MVP award. This is a team, after all, that reached the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago without two of their best players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

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He also swished 8-of-9 free throws and passed Ray Alllen for the most three- pointers made in playoffs history with 386. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 26 points, five rebounds and two assists off the bench.

COUSINS' CHANCE: DeMarcus Cousins makes his playoff debut after a nine-year wait, and after returning from a devastating injury - he missed almost a year recovering from surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon suffered last season with New Orleans.

40-year-old Nowitzki announced his retirement in an emotional speech after the Mavericks' last home game of the season. But Brooklyn did not play well down the stretch. Bojan Bogdanovic has really stepped up, as has Wes Matthews, and Young, Turner, Sabonis, I mean the whole team, really.

That will not be enough against the Celtics. I haven't even mentioned guys like Eric Bledsoe and first time All-Star Khris Middleton, who will look to replicate his performance against Boston in last year's playoffs. There are definitely a few takeaways that we can transfer over from past year, but it'll be a very different series for a few reasons.

The Celtics win this series in five games.

That's the amount of this year's NBA Playoff Pool - a record.

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