National Basketball Association playoffs preview: Cavaliers Rockets come up short

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Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shows off his championship ring before their game against the Houston Rockets at ORACLE Arena on October 17, 2017 in Oakland, California.

The No. 4 seed Oklahoma City Thunder will match-up against the No. 5 seed Utah Jazz in the First Round of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Playoffs, it was announced today.

Story line: The Western Conference finals matchup last season comes in the first round now after Golden State struggled down the stretch without Stephen Curry, and the Spurs had a hard time playing nearly all season without Kawhi Leonard.

The last West spot was the only one up for grabs on the season's final night.

In the Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves clinched the final playoff spot with an overtime win over the Denver Nuggets in a winner-take-all game. And when it comes to generating those extra possessions - and more scoring as a result - no team is more proficient than the Thunder (+3,300).

If not for James Harden and LeBron James, we might be talking about Pelicans' big man Anthony Davis as the league MVP.

For the first time since 2001, Philadelphia is a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Things are expected to be drastically different this year, however, as almost every first round matchup has a lower seeded team with a legit opportunity to steal a series.

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City led the entire league in both points off turnovers (18.7 per game) and second-chance points (14.9); the Thunder also paced the National Basketball Association in offensive rebounding (12.5) and steals (5.0).

Everyone knows Russell Westbrook like to operate at a faster pace, and that was especially true down the stretch, as OKC ranked ninth in pace over the final 15 games of the season. All First Round games can be heard on the Thunder Radio Network, led by WWLS The Sports Animal.

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The court said it issued its brief order in order to allow colleges and students affected as much time as possible to plan. She said that when she heard about the verdict, she immediately thought of her younger brother, who is a sophomore at ASU.

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New Zealand's Holly Robinson was beaten by Wales' Hollie Arnold at Rio 2016 but set a world record here of 43.32m. "I'm so happy. Stella Chesang fought off Kenya's Stacy Ndiwa to take the 10,000m gold for Uganda and win her maiden Commonwealth medal.

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It's about the love of the game and what I do for my teammates. "I just tried to slow things down, take it pitch by pitch". Stanton was outstanding last season with the Marlins, cranking 59 homers and putting together a.281/.376/.631 slash line.

When LeBron James took the floor for Cleveland against NY on Wednesday night, it represented a first for the four-time MVP - this is the first of his 15 seasons in which he's played in every regular-season game.

The Raptors tied the Houston Rockets for the best home record in the league, 34-7. Aldridge had his best season in San Antonio in carrying the Spurs as best as possible without Leonard, and the Warriors' task in trying to limit him probably begins with Green, the Defensive Player of the Year last season and one of the league's best defensive forwards.

The Wizards (+9,000) might have a psychological edge, having eliminated Toronto in first-round play in 2015, but will need to be on their best behavior to have a shot at another upset this year.

The series will then shift to Salt Lake City for Games 3 and 4.

James entered the finale averaging 27.7 points, 9.2 assists and 8.7 rebounds.

EASTERN CONFERENCENo. 1 Toronto Raptors vs.

Casey says the Raptors have been mindful of minutes all season for the team's "high-usage" players like Lowry and DeRozan.

The biggest game on Wednesday's slate is the Denver at Minnesota contest, the first last-day-of-season game in 21 years where the victor will go to the playoffs and the loser will miss the postseason.

The Warriors-Spurs game will followed Saturday by three other openers - Washington-Toronto, Miami-Philadelphia and New Orleans-Portland.

No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers vs.

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