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Things to know about the National Basketball Association playoffs

17 April 2018

If they can achieve this, the series suddenly becomes wide open.

In the United States of America as part of their own netball tour, the group were invited to stand with the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards players on court during the singing of the national anthem before the teams' final game of the season commenced on April 11.

Things could not have worked out much better for the Sixers in the East playoff bracket.

The NBA Playoffs are underway and it appears as if we might be in for a repeat of last year's playoffs where the superior teams beat up on teams they are vastly better than.

There aren't any sure shots among the remaining qualifiers, either.

Former DeMatha player Victor Oladipo, seen in this 2013 photo, now plays for the Indiana Pacers. No one except for Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to be consistent in Milwaukee.

The Boston Celtics might be the most interesting team in the National Basketball Association playoffs, in part because they may have the biggest gap between playoff ceiling and floor out of anyone.

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. When every team has a weakness, then any team can exploit that weakness.

And given the way they played on Saturday, they might have sandbagged the entire league.

Cavaliers (4) vs. Pacers (5): The Pacers have undoubtedly been the surprise story of the season.

If the Warriors' Game 1 win is any indication, the team won't need Curry until the second round anyway.

The Philadelphia 76ers won their first postseason game since 2012. Their reward? Another meeting with Cleveland and LeBron. Combining his Cleveland and Miami years, James' teams have won 46 of their last 51 first-round games. Toronto will be the favorites in this series indefinitely, and, 888 Sport has them up at 1.33, while the Wizards are at 3.45.

Victor Oladipo led the way with 32 points as the Pacers struck first in Game 1, marking the first time a LeBron James-led team lost a first-round game in almost six years.

Should the Spurs pull off a lesser but still formidable upset, they will probably face the Houston Rockets in the Conference finals.

Most of the 12 referees who worked last season's NBA Finals are back in this year's playoffs, the exceptions being McCutchen and Danny Crawford, both of whom have retired from officiating. Such dominance by a handful of dynasties and superteams has largely rendered the early rounds of the playoffs a moot point, a mere coronation on the way to the inevitable matchup at the end. They are facing a hard-nosed, fearless Miami squad, who are well coached, disciplined defensively, and feature a variety of players who could hurt the inexperienced 76ers. Maybe the precocious 76ers will follow their lead, far sooner than anyone could've predicted. "We wanted to get back to that, regardless of what everyone is saying: The Warriors have lost it, they are not together, they can't win without Steph, they're not the same team..."

Finally, the Washington Wizards have two all-stars on their team with John Wall and Bradley Beal.

But he didn't do too well even with his new matchup - JaVale McGee.

Most notably, the bench helped carry the offensive load on an afternoon when the team's All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan had an off night (just 28 points combined).

- My Prediction: Raptors in 7.

Some of those struggles should be credited to an unbelievable defensive performance from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, who proved why he's gotten a lot of love over the past couple weeks for all-defensive team honors.