Warriors' Curry out of NBA playoffs 1st Rd

Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors vs Chicago Bulls NBA 17012018

He struggled against Golden State's blitzing, double-teaming defense, and was not much of a factor in the last three games of the series.

Since the Warriors have the No. 2 seed, they will receive homecourt advantage for this series.

Still, each juggernaut remains the favourite to come out of their conference.

It will just cost the Warriors front office more to remain on that list. The Wizards play the Toronto Raptors to open the postseason. We had a stretch in December where we went 9-1 without Steph.

On offense, the Warriors need playmaking Green to return and take on a bigger role.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com, the four-time scoring champion plans on declining his player option for the 2018-19 campaign in favor of a new deal with the Golden State Warriors.

And then, multiple injuries struck the Warriors.

Defeating the Utah Jazz in the final regular season game didn't change Portland's first round opponent.

And then, the Rockets emerged.

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However, they do have Jimmy Butler back and if Andrew Wiggins gives it more than 60% - seemingly his default setting - and Karl-Anthony Towns can take over a game or two, they might make it interesting.

Harden, after finishing second in MVP voting twice, should win the award this season - and deservedly so. His 8.8 assists per game were good enough for third, behind James and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. He's got eight points and two rebounds, and he's heading to the line now. He'll look to reach the conference finals for the first time. "Obviously, we've had a lot of injuries, but the games have not been meaningful, and our play and our focus reflected that". Their experience and skills are going to be worrisome for the Warriors if they're left unaccounted for. Let alone there being a Golden State and a Houston. Kerr's boys ended the regular season with a 58-24 win-loss record, a far cry from their usual standard of regular season excellence. On top of that, LeBron, in his 15th season mind you, is having a career year with a rejuvenated roster, and will be hungry for another title to bring home to Cleveland. Still, they probably would have the edge in this series because they have the two best players in the series - Westbrook and George. Of course, the Spurs have suffered their fair of injuries this season, most notably to Leonard, but there doesn't seem to be that passing of the torch from one outstanding iteration to the next.

Irving said that the Cavaliers "finally settled in".

Around him, the unlikely trio of Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson also thrive in the mid-range and in.

The Warriors won the season series, 3-1. One ties into our first bullet point above - he is the emotional leader of the Warriors.

That game exemplifies what could go wrong for Philadelphia in the playoffs. Both however are good defensive players within a team concept, making good plays on the ball and rotating well, key parts of the mid-range-and-D system that carried the Spurs here (along with veteran wing Danny Green, who had a small offensive upswing this year by virtue of attacking more off the dribble again). Simmons' limited shooting range could be exacerbated in the playoffs when defences choose to play off of him.

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) reacts after being called for a technical foul by an official while playing against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter of their National Basketball Association game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. They are just one point ahead of KFC Orange Three Pinelands and Pan American International Insurance Corporation Warrens Sports Club who are both on 13 each.

The NBA Playoffs are set to commence on Saturday, April 14. Of those, DeRozan ranks 215th in field goal percentage (40.3 per cent), and Lowry 225th (39.4 per cent). It's a different year for us. We saw it past year when these teams met in the playoffs and Leonard went down after Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper, at that point the Warriors ran away with the series.

The Rockets, 76ers and Raptors may be underdogs, but they're not insane bets.

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