National Basketball Association playoffs 2019: Western Conference first-round series by the numbers

Who will be the new king in the East?

Coach Nate McMillan deserves a lot of credit, too. The Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokić, will try to prove they can stay competitive in the postseason to silence the doubters, while DeMar DeRozan will try to counter his own critics with his individual playoff performance. That's why he came to the Warriors as a free agent. If the Pacers had homecourt, I may be able to talk myself into it, but they finished the season 29-12 at home, 19-22 on the road.

The only matchup in the National Basketball Association that was set before Wednesday night was No. 4 Boston against No. 5 Indiana.

The Milwaukee Bucks topped the league with a 60-win season, showing the world an even stronger Eastern Conference after the absence of LeBron James, who chose to become a Los Angles Laker.

Story line: The 76ers loaded up for a postseason run, making trades during the regular season to acquire Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. It will be interesting to see if the Bucks speed up the timeline if the first round series gets interesting. No. 2 Denver faces No. 7 San Antonio in the other West opener, while No. 3 Philadelphia meets No. 6 Brooklyn, and No. 2 Toronto takes on No. 7 Orlando in the East.

The 30-team league made 273,573 points throughout the season.

Irving's main reason for wanting out of Cleveland was to get out from under LeBron James' shadow and show people that he could lead a team deep in the playoffs. "I plan on taking full advantage of it". The x-factor in this series will be DeMar DeRozan.

The cities of Denver and San Antonio will witness a battle of two well-constructed teams.

Where Can I Watch In Ireland? Let's break this down. We know D'Angelo's story very well. Tough to stop around the rim, but can also handle the ball and is an elite passer - averaging 7.7 assists per game.

As the post-season begins, Pundit Arena breaks down everything you need to know ahead of this year's National Basketball Association playoffs. And because memories are short, everyone is sort of concentrating on how Houston may be the team to beat in the West because of the way they finished the regular season.

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Sixers want to be more physical vs. Nets in Game 2
Brooklyn's offense seemed to work well from the start as the Nets got out to a nine-point lead after the first quarter, 31-22. That was their most all season and tied a franchise playoff high also done on April 27, 1989, at Utah in the first round.

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Outlook: The health of 76er center Joel Embiid is a concern; Philadelphia is not the same without him. Last season, it was Russell Westbrook - and the Jazz won that series to get into the second round against Harden and these Rockets. Have proved very hard to beat in Toronto in recent years. The problem is their lack of consistent scoring outside of Donovan Mitchell.

Post All-Star break, he's averaging 27, 5, and 5, shooting 46%, 45%, 83%. The Raptors shouldn't have an issue toppling the Magic, but this is a much better Orlando than in years past. On Houston's side, Chris Paul just hasn't been the same this year. I guess it's Jae Crowder, but I don't feel great about that. Also, all eyes will be on Dame Lillard after what happened during last season's playoffs. Trevor Ariza has been vastly overrated since his departure, and Austin Rivers, Danuel House, and Kenneth Faried are all really good pickups, not to mention PJ Tucker and Clint Capela have been better, too. The Rockets will likely win that series in five games. Clint Capela, on the other hand, is one of the best at moving his feet on the perimeter, which (in part) enables their switching defense.

The Rockets will have their work cut out for them if they want to keep the Jazz off the glass.

At the moment, the Thunder sit as the sixth seed - one game ahead of the other two teams.

Oklahoma City at Portland, 3:30 p.m. Expect Jokic to take it upon himself to be more of a scorer in the playoffs.

Looking at the first-round matchups, there are a couple of series that should catch the eye of viewers.

Key matchup: Enes Kanter vs. Steven Adams. Their major struggle comes against the pick and roll.

These playoffs are shaping up to be one the most exciting in recent memory. If the Clippers lose in any way, the Warriors would wind up playing them and even if they won, they could still find themselves facing their in-state rivals if both the Thunder and Spurs win as well. However, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Spurs moving on to the second round.

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