Round pairings set; Warriors-Cavs rematch far from certain

Golden State Warriors Host San Antonio Saturday in Game 1 of NBA Playoffs

The regular season is done and dusted and now the serious competition and drama commences. The 16 teams in these playoffs combined to win 351 games on the road in the regular season, or 54 percent.

This week has been and will be one of the most exciting calendar of days in the Association. With Anthony Davis leading the New Orleans Pelicans to the sixth seed without DeMarcus Cousins, and the Oklahoma City Thunder having a full season of reigning MVP Russell Westbrook gelling with superstars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the West is full of teams just one or two pieces away from taking the top spot next season.

Let's face it, "The Process" has been a complete and utter success.

Also, in a game for all the marbles, the San Antonio Spurs dropped a crucial contest to the New Orleans Pelicans, which set them up with the defending champion, Golden State Warriors.

Simmons, this week's Eastern Conference Player of the Week, has averaged an incredible 14.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.9 assists during the streak. Never mind that All-Star big man Joel Embiid went down with an orbital fracture in his left eye eight games into the stretch, the Sixers just kept rolling. This is such a flawless matchup between the up-and-coming Sixers led by two elite rookies, and the veteran-laden but star-hungry Heat. If the Timberwolves can ride that momentum - and it's entirely possible, with Jimmy Butler coming back from a knee injury - they could make things real interesting. "He has exceeded for me all of the expectations I've had for him". However, Bjelica would get the start and fill in quite well at times for this team.

And that can include the Cleveland Cavaliers. They closed the season with 16 straight wins and then they pulled the unheralded Heat in the first round.

Boston will be missing Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart from the lineup with only Smart likely to return this postseason.

"I like Houston and Golden State, pending their health, as being my top two favorites", five-time victor Kobe Bryant said during a conference call to promote his new basketball analysis show Detail that will run on ESPN during the postseason.

On a side-note, Minnesota's win allowed Atlanta to pick up their third first round draft pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, thanks to the lottery-protected pick they got from the T-Wolves, stipulating that the Hawks could only get the pick if the Wolves made the playoffs.

Harden and Chris Paul have a lot to prove this post-season.

The Timberwolves are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Stephen Curry is injured to a certain degree. This marked the fourth consecutive season that opening-night rosters featured at least 100 worldwide players and that all 30 teams had at least one global player. A year ago he averaged 17.7 points in the playoffs for Detroit, who lost in the first round to Cleveland. His effectiveness around the basket was the best in the National Basketball Association this year (1.5 points per possession) and his ability to step out to the perimeter (2.2 3-point attempts per game, 34 percent shooting) makes him a nightmare to defend.

Washington has struggled as of late, losing seven of their last 10 games. So that's what you need.

Since Kevin Durant chose to team up with the Golden State Warriors to create the ultimate super team, his character and competitive sprint have both come into question.

But all signs point to it being able to do just that.

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