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Cards in the National Basketball Association: 2018 Playoffs are Here

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Thunder will play Jazz or Rockets in first round of NBA playoffs

Finishing ahead of them were the first-place Toronto Raptors, whose stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have finally matured into legitimate threats.

If the Wizards are to have any chance in this series, point guard and floor general John Wall must take care of the ball. The teams with the next best odds were LeBron's Cavaliers at +750 and the Raptors at +1200, highlighting the drastic difference between the field and the league's true elite. This is largely due to the injuries of both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry throughout the season, but either way the Rockets have proven that they should be taken seriously. This Heat team is a tough, gritty team, without any real stars.

Which playoff bracket would be more entertaining to watch? The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to advance past the first round for the first time (he's 0-for-2 thus far).

James has ordinarily sat out games at the end of the season when the Cavs have a seed locked up. Frankly the only way I can describe this Washington team is disappointing.

The NBA playoffs, especially the opening round, typically hold true to form.

Philadelphia beats Miami in six games: The hottest team in the league with a insane and rabid fan base is in for a treat this spring. The Boston-Milwaukee series starts Sunday, April 15, in Boston. No. 6 Miami: Philadelphia has the talent to contend with any team.

James averaged 27.5 points, his most since the last season of his first stint in Cleveland in 2009-10, a career-best 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game - the latter matching the benchmark he set last season. But Lue is back on the bench and anything looks possible with James on the floor. When healthy, they're still the team to beat. He's a marvelous player and has had a sensational year.

Who wins? Playoff Bron in five. Don't be surprised if the Milwaukee Bucks, who own the #7 seed, to upend the Boston Celtics, and make a run deep into the playoffs.

With the Warriors winning two of the three finals matchups against the Cavaliers, it will be interesting to see if Cleveland can tie it up at two or if Golden State will continue their domination. The Warriors should at least make it back to the conference final, where chances are either the Rockets or OKC will be waiting.

Harden and Chris Paul have a lot to prove this post-season. And many thought the they would struggle.

The injury to Kawhi Leonard changes the entire complexion of this series. The teams split their four-game regular-season series. This has always been a source of great amusement for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who coached Steve Kerr as a player and remains close with him now. Was the Warriors' clunkiness down the stretch just a matter of coasting, or are there problems in the potential-dynasty? That makes the Blazers a no-go in 4Q scoring props, and as a live bet if they find themselves trailing late. On the flip side, they were just 5-7 in games decided by three points or fewer, so perhaps you should avoid making a close-decision prop bet on Toronto. Washington averages 21.3 personal fouls per game, good for 25th out of 30 National Basketball Association teams; they also rank 25th in foul rate per possession (19.3 percent). For the fourth straight year, the news was good for the league in many different aspects.

Who wins? Portland in seven. New Orleans will start on the road, regardless of the victor, and Oklahoma City — thanks to its wild 137-123 win over Memphis — could still get a top-four seed.

"They just made the plays at the end", Denver's Will Barton said of the Timberwolves. No. 5 Utah: Give credit to Russell Westbrook - averaging a triple-double in two straight seasons is a remarkable feat.

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