Warriors start playoff road, without LeBron at the end

Warriors start playoff road, without LeBron at the end

He played an integral role in helping Golden State win the title the past two seasons and leading the Warriors to a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs this year.

If Harden scores 182 in the playoffs, that will give him a total of 3,000 - and he would be the 10th player in National Basketball Association history to score that many in a full season, postseason included.

Hidden storyline: Blake Griffin's health is a major concern for the Pistons. Pistons center Andre Drummond was a force on the glass and at the rim. The other no-brainer series will be the Toronto Raptors topping the Orlando Magic.

Season series: Tied, 2-2.

With Kevin Durant's free agency decision looming, the Warriors star opened up about his time with the Warriors and explained he gave up a lot to play with the defending back-to-back champions. But despite that, these teams split the regular season series. "I know guys been itching to get to this first playoff game".

Season records: Philadelphia 51-31, Brooklyn 42-40.

Cousins has played in 565 regular-season games and zero postseason games.

You shouldn't expect any surprises in the first round as the talent of the top 4 seeds is far greater than the remainder of the conference, but the fireworks will start in the later rounds. Simmons is speedy but not much of a shooter, while Russell does most of his damage from the perimeter.

No. 4 Celtics vs. Fans, analysts, players, and coaches all had their opinions about his choice, and the overwhelming majority of them are negative.

Chief: Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony being treated
A five-year old boy was rushed to the hospital Friday morning after police said a man threw him from a balcony on the third floor. A witness tried to stop him, and officers soon after apprehended and arrested the Minneapolis man in the mall's transit station.

Sunday's opening postseason series begins in Boston. Neither team is particularly potent so needs to rely on being solid defensively. The defensive specialist returned after missing three straight and played 21 minutes in a 143-137 overtime victory against the Jazz in the regular-season finale Wednesday night. Throughout the season, the Warriors have struggled to hold onto that top spot as the Denver Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic, fought them all the way to the dying stages of the season for that top seed.

5 reasons the Milwaukee Bucks can win the National Basketball Association championship: Micah Wimmer over at The Step Back offered up his five reasons for why the Bucks could win it all this season. But since Durant signed with Golden State, he's been the one that's made the biggest playoff shots for the Warriors and carried the team when they've found themselves in trouble.

Curry knows he can't let Beverley get under his skin.

This is going to be one of the most interesting matchups in the first round. He's not going to outscore or outshoot Curry. When he's healthy, there's no denying that the Sixers' big man is one of the most dominant at his position.

The Lakers had made the playoffs in five successive seasons but failed to get to the Finals.

Story line: The Nuggets are in the playoffs for the first time since 2013, and the Spurs haven't missed the playoffs since 1997. The season series suggests this matchup could last a while; both went 2-0 at home. Here's the experience factor again: Malone has been on the sideline for zero playoff games as a head coach, while Popovich has coached 277. The third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers followed things up with a 104-99 win over the No. 6 OKC Thunder. But Philly has just two series wins since 2003. But what really separates the power forward from Harden is his effort on both sides of the ball. The 2017 Most Improved Player proved that he could still better himself. Harden wasn't bad last postseason, but he didn't look like the MVP in the Western Conference Finals. The way these teams are playing, it's kind of a shame that they're meeting in the first round. And in a scoring matchup between James Harden and Mitchell, you have to take Harden. Maybe this is the year that he wins NBA Finals MVP.

The Jazz have an epic first-round matchup against the Rockets on deck, and Mitchell will get another crack at Houston after struggling against them past year in the second round of the playoffs.

Prediction: Rockets in 7.

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