The NBA Playoffs are well underway. The first round has proven how strong the competition is among the teams this season. In fact, four of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference finished with the same regular season record (Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte). Not surprisingly, Charlotte and Miami are headed to a Game 7 matchup to determine who enters the second round. Indiana and Portland will also play a Game 7. It took six games for Atlanta to get past the Boston Celtics. Cleveland swept its series against Detroit, but a couple of those games were very close.
In the Western Conference, the regular season records were not as tightly clustered. The Golden State Warriors won a record-high 73 games, while their first-round opponents, Houston, finished with a 41-41 record. Last season’s MVP Stephen Curry got injured in the first round, so he was unable to help clinch the series over Houston. Nevertheless, Golden State won the series in five games. None of the matchups in the Western Conference resulted in a Game 7. San Antonio swept its series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Oklahoma City defeated Dallas in five games, and it took Portland six games to put away the Los Angeles Clippers.
The top three seeds in the Western Conference have advanced along with the #5 seed. Portland faces Golden State in the second round while the San Antonio Spurs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the Eastern Conference, #1 Cleveland enters the second round against #4 Atlanta. The Game 7 winners in the Eastern Conference will face each other in the second round (Miami/Charlotte vs. Toronto/Indiana) to fill out the rest of the bracket. There is a lot of great basketball left to enjoy before we get to the NBA Finals in June.
- Boys among men: how the prep-to-pro generation redefined the NBA and sparked a basketball revolution
- Chasing perfection: a behind-the-scenes look at the high-stakes game of creating an NBA champion
- More than a game [videorecording]