Thursday, 25 April 2019
Latest news
Main » National Basketball Association first-round playoff series capsules

National Basketball Association first-round playoff series capsules

15 April 2019

He's a playmaker that can take over games when he catches fire on the court, as shown by his performance in the playoffs a year ago, but he'll need to be a bit more consistent to assert himself as one of the league's best young stars.

One would be hard-pressed to find anyone that didn't agree Antetokounmpo is an elite player in the National Basketball Association, but he hasn't proven that he's the best - at least not yet.

Last year's deep playoff run was built on the emergence of young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, important contributions from numerous bench players and the veteran leadership and defensive solidity of Al Horford. The likely MVP, he's putting up historic stats: 27.7, 12.5, 5.9, achieved only by Giannis and Oscar Robertson.

As the Warriors prepare to face the Los Angeles Clippers in round one, we take a look back at the teams they will be trying to replicate.

The East is even more split. The No. 3 seed Philadelphia 76ers fell to No. 6 Brooklyn Nets, while No. 7 Orlando Magic stunned the second-seeded Toronto Raptors with a go-ahead 3 in the final seconds.

Stephen Curry's shot seemed to fail him before he began wearing contact lens on the court - in a scary admission that he had struggled with his vision for years even as he established himself as the deadliest three-point shooter in National Basketball Association history. The last time they played was back on January 29, 2019, in Detroit with the Bucks cruising to a 10-point win behind a near triple-double from the Greek Freak. The Bucks ended the regular season with a 60-22 record, the best defense in the league and, in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo, have the NBA's most dominant player at their disposal. Led by Shaquille O'Neal and an emerging Kobe Bryant, the Lakers compiled a league-best 67-15 record.

The putt that sealed Tiger Woods' Masters win
Woods also captured his 15th career major crown, leaving him three behind Jack Nicklaus's record 18. I am so happy for him and for the game of golf.

It's easy to forget how incredible Leonard was two postseasons ago when he briefly put a scare into the Warriors before suffering an injury that ended his playoff run.

If it wasn't for his postseason failures, Harden might have an argument to top the list. At the same time, Harden has elevated the Rockets to fourth place in the Western Conference.

It includes Denver, in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Why? If George's shot misses and Houston win the game, the Rockets end the season with the West's No seed and a lip-smacking first-round match-up against the San Antonio Spurs, a team they beat three times out of four in the regular season. In the West, No. 3 Portland and No. 6 Oklahoma City meet in a matchup of Northwest Division rivals, and No. 4 Houston and No. 5 Utah square off in the opener of a series between two of the strongest teams in the second half of the season. He'll be a challenge for Milwaukee's big men. It's hard to say how much he'll be able to contribute in the playoffs. It was their style of play, and what he knew it would do for his game. The 76ers hold an 8-2 record in the 10 games that Embiid, Butler, Harris, Simmons and Redick have been in the starting lineup. He's a beast defensively and is usually unstoppable in the paint. The Association postseason seeds are set.

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. 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.

Westbrook really is a one-of-a-kind player. 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. During that 11-game span, the average combined score was a shade under 240 points.

National Basketball Association first-round playoff series capsules