NBA Playoffs: Preview
Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison
The National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs have taken off as 16 teams compete to become national champions through a best-of-seven elimination tournament. Teams are matched up according to their record and current standing in each conference. They will then compete in a best-of-seven game series where the first team to win four games moves ahead. Once each conference has a winner, they will face off in the NBA Finals with the same best-of-seven series. Games began on Thursday, May 31 and will end on Sunday, June 17.
Currently the Eastern Conference leads the Western Conference in overall championships (38-32), and the Boston Celtics hold the record for most championships won for a team with 17. The matchups for this year’s playoffs are as follows: Washington v.s. Toronto, Minnesota v.s. Houston, Milwaukee v.s. Boston, San Antonio v.s. Golden-State, Miami v.s. Philadelphia, New Orleans, v.s. Portland, Indiana v.s. Cleveland, and Utah v.s. Oklahoma City.
In the Western Conference it looks like the Houston Rockets could make a decent run in the playoffs, as they have won 64 out of 79 games and lead the Western Conference. Then of course there is last year’s champion and 2015 champion the Golden-State Warriors with star players Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. However the Warriors have struggled the past month suffering injuries to all of these key players. Stephen Curry will be out for the first round of playoffs with a MCL sprain in his left knee. Earlier in the season and throughout his career he has dealt with ankle problems.
In the east the Boston Celtics were another team with high expectations for playoffs, however star point guard Kyrie Irving announced he would not be playing the rest of the season following his recent knee surgery. Also in the east the Toronto Raptors, leaders of the east, also have a shot lead behind shooting guard Demar DeRozan and point guard Kyle Lowry. DeRozan has averaged 20.9 points and 5.6 assists in the last 10 games while Lowry averaged 16.3 points and 7.8 assists.