If the regular season has been any indication, basketball fans are in for a real treat with the 2017 NBA Playoffs set to get underway April 15. Eight teams for both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference will do battle in best-of-seven series for the right to advance to the NBA Finals. Golden State and Cleveland have faced one another in the previous two championships, with Cleveland overcoming a 3-1 hole to win last season. The Warriors won the title the year before.
Both Golden State and Cleveland appear poised for a third straight meeting in the finals. The two teams have been at the top of their respective conferences virtually all season. However, as of March 29, the Boston Celtics had taken over the Cavaliers for the top spot in the East. At that point, the Celtics were 48-26, compared to Cleveland’s 47-26 mark. The Cavs have been on a bit of a slump, having gone just 7-10 between Feb. 25 and March 27. Boston, meanwhile, went 7-1 between March 12 and March 26, scoring 100 points or more in all but one of those wins.
Other Eastern Conference teams in playoffs contention are Washington and Toronto, who, as of March 29, had clinched a playoff berth. The Wizards sat in third place in the East with a mark of 46-28, while the Raptors were 45-29 at that juncture. Atlanta, Milwaukee, Indiana and Miami are a ways back but still in a decent spot to reach the postseason.
In the West, Golden State has maintained the NBA’s best record the entire year. As of March 29, the Warriors were 60-14. The San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets were in second and third place, respectively. Lurking behind are the Utah Jazz (45-29) and the Los Angeles Clippers (44-31), who have each clinched playoff spots. Oklahoma City, Memphis and Portland are currently sitting in playoff contention as well.
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