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National Basketball Association viewership was up significantly this season

14 April, 2018, 14:41 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • 76ers guard Ben Simmons in

As stated above, all rounds, including the NBA Finals, are in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. Home-court advantage and one of the league's best backcourts should get the Blazers to the second round, though it wouldn't be surprising to see either team advance.

As for Melas' selection, well, he has one heck of a reason for going with a Rockets-Clippers game from January that was decided by 11 points.

Don't expect Houston to be seriously challenged until the conference finals.

This year, the playoff games have strong winds at their backs, as ESPN is reporting that National Basketball Association viewership for the 2017-18 regular season was up across all platforms as measured by Nielsen.

First place in the eastern conference Toronto Raptors will face Washington Wizards who finished the season eight, the first game of the series at Toronto. For the Celtics to go on an extended postseason run, they will need rookie Jayson Tatum to show that he is ready for primetime. Still, Toronto - which was third in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating this season - should be able to survive.

NBA 2K18 Anthony Davis
National Basketball Association viewership was up significantly this season

There are some rematches from the 2017 playoffs already waiting. The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to advance past the first round for the first time (he's 0-for-2 thus far).

No. 3 76ers vs. Joel Embiid will at least miss Game 1, giving Miami an opportunity to steal a contest on the road and put pressure on a bunch of players that have never competed in the postseason. With coach Nate McMillan and All-Star guard Victor Oladipo leading the way, the Pacers were a wonderful surprise this season.

Finally, in a matchup receiving little attention. The Rockets will be without a valuable rotation player, Luc Mbah a Moute, who sustained a shoulder injury this week in a meaningless game. The 87-game schedule marks the most games ESPN has ever aired during the regular season. We can pretty much chalk this up to a more competitive regular season after the previous three years saw both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors dominate the NBA's landscape. But if anyone is capable of creating a game plan to upset the ailing defending champions, it's San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Meanwhile, New Orleans have won five straight - including triumphs versus the Spurs and the Warriors - and will hope power forward Anthony Davis can continue to carry them, having lost DeMarcus Cousins to an Achilles tendon rupture in January.

No. 3 Trail Blazers vs. Portland, which had the league's ninth-best defensive rating this season, will have all it can handle with the way Pelicans star Anthony Davis has been playing (a league-leading 30.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game since DeMarcus Cousins' season-ending Achilles injury January 26).


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