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

LeBron James looking distressed during a game

His shooting percentages became a real problem this season and they could hurt the Thunder tremendously if the point guard takes too many shots. The Pistons' offense takes a nose dive without Griffin and even with the mismatch inside of Andre Drummond, it won't be enough for the Pistons to overcome the onslaught from the Bucks' offense. Beyond Griffin and All-Star center Andre Drummond, there's not much that Milwaukee should be scared of matchup-wise. This season he's recorded 17 points, .9 steals, 3.1 assists, 78.2 FT%, and 6.9 rebounds. The other no-brainer series will be the Toronto Raptors topping the Orlando Magic. They swept the season series with Detroit 4-0.

The NBA regular season has come to a close and now it's time for everyone's favorite time of the year: the playoffs.

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. I sacrificed a lot of (expletive) to be here and to change my game up to be with these guys.

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

It could be Philadelphia, with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons anchoring perhaps the most talented starting five outside of the Bay Area.

It's the start of postseason that looks different far beyond just the absence of James for the first time since 2005.

Despite winning an MVP award and somehow pulling off the incredible feat of three straight seasons of averaging a triple-double, there are still some who question if Westbrook's talent leads to playoff wins. Simmons is speedy but not much of a shooter, while Russell does most of his damage from the perimeter.

It stands to reason that the best player on the best team in the National Basketball Association over the regular season can lay a decent claim to the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

Winning 60 games in the regular season was fun, but now it's time to focus on the bigger picture if you're the Milwaukee Bucks. Playoffs have not been exactly the Bucks' strong suit for the last decade and a half but there's a new culture brewing in the cream city.

No. 1 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (57-25) vs.

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These two teams have history dating back to 2014, when Golden State took the Clippers to seven games in the first-round playoff season.

This is going to be one of the most interesting matchups in the first round.

While he suffered a mild right foot sprain Tuesday at New Orleans, Curry was a full go in practice Friday with no issues. Also, each team relies on superior guard play with great big men to gobble up rebounds and blocks. He'll get Curry playoff-sharp in a hurry.

A surprise package this year, the Nuggets finished second in the west after not making the playoffs since 2013. After a disappointing first-round exit in last year's playoffs, the forward entered this season more determined than ever. Hats off to Nikola Jokic, Michael Malone, and the Nuggets on a magnificent regular season... 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 Blazers haven't won a playoff series since 2016, and Portland needs to beat Oklahoma City if he wants to prove he's truly among the league's elite players.

To make matters worse for the Blazers, McCollum has just returned from injury and played just two games since March 16. Taking him out to the perimeter and forcing him to defend pick and roll is really the way to play him out of a series. Kanter has been great down the stretch for Portland, and Adams is a stabilizing force for the Thunder.

The Rockets are the fourth seed in the West with a 53-29 overall record this season.

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.

But reigning MVP Harden led a sensational revival with a stunning run of 32 30-point games that started on December 14. The way these teams are playing, it's kind of a shame that they're meeting in the first round. Not to mention Donovan Mitchell has been on another level.

Prediction: Rockets in 7.

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