Quijano: 1st round National Basketball Association playoff matchups

Paola Ditto
Aprile 17, 2018

Winslow played more and scored more than his season averages in Game 1.

No matter how unpredictable the regular season was, however, many still expect to see yet another NBA Finals rematch. But the Warriors-Spurs series was going to be competitive only if Golden State failed to show up.

This wasn't San Antonio's best season; the Spurs got "only" the seventh seed in the West. And, even if he did, it wouldn't be enough to make this series an interesting one. He returned in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling.

The second-unit production will only get better when Fred VanVleet returns to action (the former Wichita State star missed the game with shoulder soreness).

Teams that win the first two games at home go on to win the series better than 90 percent of the time - so the adage that "the series doesn't start til the home team loses" isn't accurate. 888 Sport has posted its Game 2 odds for the outright victor between these teams, and, the 76ers are big favorites at 1.36 to 3.30 for the Heat. The All-Star center has been hopeful he can return early in the series. "There's a process you go through and it's next play, next game, next everything". It worked, and the Sixers ran away in the second half under a hailstorm of threes. But one thing Spoelstra should do is keep Whiteside next to him unless Embiid is out there.

Tyus Jones, Timberwolves: Jones was a +2 in seven minutes of burn, had one assist and didn't take a shot in his first playoff game.

With two huge shots in the final seconds of regulation and big performances all around, Game 1 of this first-round series was an instant classic.

Who are your underdog team in the playoffs? But can newcomers like Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Lance Jr, whom have a total of 11-playoff games between them, perform in uncharted territory? Don't be surprised if there are no sweeps in the first round as even the 8th seeds in both conferences have stars like John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, and Karl Anthony-Towns. If Portland is going to advance, though, he has to be. Middleton had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Still, Terry Rozier has stepped up in the lead guard role. As long as that issue remains unresolved, they can't get past Cleveland.

In the first round they'll face the daunting San Antonito Spurs. I'll be curious to see how coach Scott Brooks approaches the rest of the series.

But that wasn't the only issue with Cleveland's lifeless showing Sunday.

Draymond Green, a power forward, will also play a big role for the Warriors. Osman, meanwhile, was anchored to the bench. Though Utah is one of the league's top defensive teams, containing George and Russell Westbrook while taking Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams into account is quite the task.

The Raptors host Game 2 on Tuesday. And many thought the they would struggle.

The teams competing in post-season play for the Eastern Conference are: the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers. With each game comes new storylines to follow over the next 10 weeks of the postseason. It comes as no surprise that the Sixers' two leading scorers in Game 1 (Marco Belinelli and J.J. Redick) are two veterans with NBA Finals experience.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are favorites to win Game 2 with 888 Sport posting at 1.53 to 2.55.

Houston kept All-Star big man Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston. Absolutely. There's nothing more risky than a team that has nothing to lose and that's exactly what this Celtics team is.

Oh, the good ol' swish, that sweet sound the basketball makes when Steph Curry, LeBron James, James Harden and other top-notch players in the NBA shoot the ball from outside the arc when all their fans' hopes are on the line.

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