NBA Regular-Season Ratings Hit 4-Year High

The official start to the NBA Playoffs tends to serve as a glorified bat signal that the upcoming several months are going to be nothing short of outstanding.

The Golden State Warriors have been to the finals three years in a row, winning titles in both 2015 and last season, and they certainly have the talent to make it back despite a less-than-dominating regular season that prompted coach Steve Kerr at one point to call out their effort as "pathetic".

With the upstart Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets proving themselves to be true contenders, new blood was the name of the game during the 2017-18 regular season. But give me Blazers-Pelicans since we didn't get the tantalizingly juicy Warriors-Thunder matchup we were low-key rooting for. Still, Terry Rozier has stepped up in the lead guard role.

"It was nerve-wracking stepping out in front of such a huge crowd at first but they made us feel very welcome and special - it was unbelievable", she said.

No. 2 Golden State vs. As long as that issue remains unresolved, they can't get past Cleveland. Unless the Warriors decide to lay an egg along the way and get sloppy or go ice-cold for a game, don't be surprised if this one ends in a sweep.

The East No. 1 Toronto Raptors, likely looking at a second-round matchup with the Cavaliers, are +155 to win the first conference title in franchise history. And can you imagine what this team would have been like with Kawhi Leonard playing?

Despite all the changes, though, Toronto's primary problem has not gone anywhere: guarding LeBron James.

Start with the East pairings: Lowry and the top-seeded Raptors play No. 8 Washington, No. 2 Boston faces No. 7 Milwaukee, No. 3 Philadelphia gets No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Cleveland - with LeBron James bidding for an eighth consecutive appearance in The Finals - opening against No. 5 in, a surprise team at the start of the season and one that isn't a surprise anymore.


"The playoffs are about moments, and you just want a chance to have those moments", Miami guard Dwyane Wade said.

Starting in the Eastern Conference, there are two former Duke players on the Celtics, three if you are a generous person.

"They just made the plays at the end", Denver's Will Barton said of the Timberwolves. DeRozan, and particularly Lowry, have to be better. But the Sixers have more up-front talent and depth, and they should wear Boston down. Maybe that's a reason to back them one more time. JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli and Dario Saric combined for 73 points.

With Kyrie Irving out, Antetokounmpo is by far the best player in the series and as great as the Celtics are defensively, he should be able to take advantage of mismatches and advance the Bucks to the second round. Their head coach Erik Spoelstra has years of playoff experience and is backed by executive Pat Riley who has even more. That showed in Game 1. Do you think the Heat can overcome the Sixers? But can newcomers like Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Lance Jr, whom have a total of 11-playoff games between them, perform in uncharted territory? Because watching Philly win a lot of stuff has been pretty cool. If Davis isn't on every night, Portland will dispatch New Orleans easily. Then, on the ensuing inbound pass, to go for a basket cut for two again?

As good as Portland's backcourt duo of Lillard and C.J. McCollum has been this year, Anthony Davis will be the best player on the court.

Now, aside from that, the Pelicans deserved to win this game.

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.

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