Warriors start playoff road, without LeBron there at the end

LeBron James looking distressed during a game

"He plays an incredible all-around game, whether it's defense, rebounding, blocking shots, offensive, getting everybody involved", Nowitzki said. The Warriors won 120-114. There's a real chance that one superstar will seize the title of the world's best basketball player from James with an impressive run over the next two months.

San Antonio is in the postseason for a record-tying 22nd consecutive season. Los Angeles went on to miss the playoffs this season.

As always at playoff time, there are some familiar things and some not-so-familiar things.

Despite the hate, dislike, and his questionable decisions, Durant has amassed two titles and a pair of NBA Finals MVP Awards during his time with the Warriors. If the Rockets can get past the Jazz in the first round, it's a near lock that the Warriors will be waiting for them in the second round, for a rematch of last season's epic series. If they make it through the Celtics, a match-up with Toronto or Philadelphia likely looms in the conference finals. You don't just roll out of bed and learn how to win - it takes time, and this franchise hasn't won in a long time.

The Warriors and Chicago are now tied for third with six championships each. Yes, the Nuggets have the best home record of any playoff team.

The 2018-2019 National Basketball Association season was one for the books for the Milwaukee Bucks, who will enter the playoffs as the number one overall seed and the only team to eclipse the 60-win mark during the regular season.

Golden State are the heavy favourites to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy again this season, with only two teams having achieved a three-peat in the modern era. Since January 1, only James Harden (38.2) has averaged more points than the Thunder star.

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. The defending champion Golden State Warriors will face off against the Los Angeles Clippers.

A surprise package this year, the Nuggets finished second in the west after not making the playoffs since 2013.

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Warriors guard Stephen Curry is on pace to catch Ray Allen and become the NBA's all-time 3-point leader sometime in the 2020-21 season. In the postseason, Curry is about to become No. 1.

The NBA playoffs are here.

Irving's main reason for wanting out of Cleveland was to get out from under LeBron James' shadow and show people that he could lead a team deep in the playoffs.

Here's a breakdown of all the first-round West series, by the numbers. The losing team in the NBA Finals gets another $2,543,681 and the NBA champs get one more payout of $3,838,798. With various Rockets' players coming back from injuries, Harden didn't need to score 50 points every game to win. No other team can win that much.

Instead, the loss to the Thunder saw them drop down to the fourth seed and a risky first-round series against the Utah Jazz, who have won 32 of the 45 games they have played since January 1 and boast the NBA's second-best defensive rating (conceding 105.7 points per 100 possessions).

History suggests the Rockets are in trouble. The Magic have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games to surge into the seventh seed. Last year, our simulation fell a little below the mark, so we're hoping this year's sim takes a turn for the positive.

The Clippers will take on the fifth-place Jazz and the Spurs have the easiest opponent, the Dallas Mavericks.

The NBA playoffs are in full swing, and so far they haven't exactly gone as most would have expected.

DeMarcus Cousins is No. 1 on a list that nobody wants to lead. Hats off to Nikola Jokic, Michael Malone, and the Nuggets on a magnificent regular season...

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