The field is set: NBA matchups for 2019 playoffs finalized

Carrie Guzman
April 17, 2019

All four of those teams went on to win the National Basketball Association championship. Not only is he an elite scorer and playmaker, but he's also one of the sport's best defensive players and might somehow still be getting better. The team is "optimistic" he'll be ready for Game 1 against Brooklyn but "it's possible" he won't be able to play, general manager Elton Brand told reporters Wednesday. That night, he paired his scoring output with 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals as he helped lead the Rockets back from a 12-point deficit that loomed over them as they entered the fourth quarter. "So, with that being said, go green, go Bucks!" And speaking of Russell, he emerged as an all-star caliber player and one of the best clutch players in the league. By no means is that his fault, but the fact of the matter is Boston doesn't have time to wait for Hayward to be fully healthy. The second round cannot begin until April 27 at the earliest, the conference finals couldn't start before May 12 and the NBA Finals will start on May 30.

The Golden State Warriors are seeking their fifth consecutive Western Conference title this postseason.

- The Warriors finished the season with a true shooting percentage of 59.6 per cent, more than a full percentage point better than any other team.

That stat only takes regular-season games into account. If the Rockets can get past the Jazz in the first round, it's a near lock that the Warriors will be waiting for them in the second round, for a rematch of last season's epic series.

We've long known that the 24-year-old Antetokounmpo is a creature of habit and that's certainly on display in the lengthy look into what goes into his pre-game preparations and exercises that ESPN's Malika Andrews revealed in her great piece on the leading MVP candidate. It's no accident they finished with the number one defense in the league and will have to instill their will and length to force turnovers and get out in transition. He's become the most dominant player in the East and will likely win the regular season MVP award after being the best player on the best team. Every team in the playoffs has the talent to pull off an upset. There are definitely a few takeaways that we can transfer over from a year ago, but it'll be a very different series for a few reasons.

Sure, the Celtics had their problems during the regular season, but the postseason offers them a fresh start.

Lori Loughlin, husband Mossimo Giannulli plead not guilty in college admissions scam
Courthouse after appearing in Federal Court to answer charges stemming from college admissions scandal , April 3, 2019, in Boston. Loughlin and Giannulli are now facing charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Thunder, who would give the Warriors the toughest matchup of the three, are playing the most hard opponent.

"It doesn't matter who you play in the playoffs, you're going to get tested".

It will be an enticing tournament to behold, and one we are very eager to see play out.

After another terrific season, Lillard might be among the league's most underrated stars.

Considering Detroit is starting a guy at shooting guard in Wayne Ellington who couldn't even get on the court in Miami before being bought out, this one could get ugly out on the perimeter. But too often Embiid has had to sit out games due to injury. Denver and the San Antonio Spurs split their season matchup, with the home team winning every game.

The Raptors have a history of choking in the playoffs, but this year seems different. In the West, No. 3 Portland and No. 6 Oklahoma City meet in a matchup of Northwest Division rivals, and No. 4 Houston and No. 5 Utah square off in the opener of a series between two of the strongest teams in the second half of the season. With James Harden coming off the seventh-best regular season scoring average (36.1 points per game) in National Basketball Association history, only a fool would casually write the Rockets off. Last year, our simulation fell a little below the mark, so we're hoping this year's sim takes a turn for the positive.

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