But while the 2016 NBA Finals were exciting, most NBA playoff series are uncompetitive, lopsided and uninteresting. This could be the Clippers' last real chance to make a playoff run with this core, and they won't waste it with a first-round exit. Before we get too far, he was only given two options in a television interview, Blazers in 6 or Blazers in 7. I foresee the game probably being a smaller game if he doesn't play, whereas if he plays it turns into a bigger game, " Golden State's Draymond Green said following practice on Friday.
And then, in Game 4 of the Finals, there was a tussle with LeBron James.
"I love being here, " he said. At times, James muscled the Cavaliers through certain games, absolutely willing them to a victory. The Cavs are three-time conference champs and the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions.
Cleveland's schedule the Cavs played 12 road games in March made it hard to practice and James said it was "refreshing" to be on the floor with his teammates. To put it quite simply, this is the worst the Cavaliers have looked in years.
We give you five of those reasons. At the end of the day I can't have my mind focused on the past right now.
But that's the regular season, right?
Sporting News reported similar odds on Thursday night: the Warriors (5-11 odds, or bet $5 to win $11), Cavs (19-5) and Spurs (9-1) make up the top tier.
Coming in strong with a 27.5 Player Efficiency Rating, Leonard had impressive statistics throughout the year. Free of the headaches of NY and Los Angeles, D'Antoni got back to what he does best: crafting thrilling offenses out of versatile players and allowing for nearly unfathomable risk to set his team up for maximum reward. They are just sounder and the better-coached team overall. Boston, Toronto and Washington, they're all good enough that if Cleveland isn't playing at the top of their game, they could knock Cleveland out.
This season, James averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 37.8 minutes of play over 74 games.
The Houston Rockets let Dwight Howard walk and head to Atlanta.
Between Russell Westbrook's fire, the Thunder's playoff experience from previous year and their defensive versatility, size and athleticism, no one should be surprised if they make serious noise. However, Paul has experienced little postseason success in his career, never reaching the conference finals.
How did Harden and company respond? For the gambling gurus out there who'll be betting on ever round, the Warriors a -400 to win the Western Conference.
Nurkic, traded to Portland on February 12 from the Denver Nuggets, was averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20 games with the Blazers. And what are you doing at the 3-point line with those guys? He's the probable MVP, becoming just the second player in National Basketball Association history to average a triple-double, and he set the National Basketball Association record with 42 triple-doubles this season.
With Golden State, it is all about winning the National Basketball Association championship, though, as last year's record-setting 73-9 mark was not validated with the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
GREENE: OK. As much as you're talking about LeBron, I mean, we've got two MVP candidates, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Houston's James Harden they're going to be facing off against one another and in the first round. Westbrooks insanely high usage percentage only begins to tell that tale.
Greg Monroe has played in 538 regular-season games. Due to that usage percentage, Westbrook had 13.1 win shares on the season, a 15.5 box score plus/minus (over 100 average possessions, which is also absurd), and assisted on 57.3% of his teammate's field goals while he was on the floor.