Hard to find an upset in the Eastern Conference

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The Minneapolis Lakers won three in a row from 1952 to 1954, with the Boston Celtics winning eight in a row between 1959 to 1966, though both runs came when the National Basketball Association had fewer teams. They will need all the rest they can get if they play Boston in the second round, so I don't expect them to take Detroit lightly, even if Griffin is still banged up.

The Nets have covered six of their previous seven road games and 10 of their previous 14 divisional games. The Houston Rockets totaled 27 three-pointers in a game versus the Phoenix Suns, refreshing their own record of most three-pointers made in one game.

The 16 playoff teams are playing for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, for rings, for a parade ... and for a stake of $21,676,510.

The moves to add Butler and Harris have left the bench a little thin.

The 30-year-old was one of the most popular players in the league during his time with the Thunder. And if Embiid is compromised in any way, this could turn into an upset. However, I'm still picking the Warriors until someone proves otherwise. That could definitely make the difference. In the end, I'm gonna pick the Sixers, who have a significant talent advantage, but I am excited to watch this series for sure. Taking the phrase "putting the team on your back" to a whole new level, he broke the 50-point threshold nine times this season, became the first player in National Basketball Association history to score more than 30 points against all 29 teams in the league, and produced the second-longest scoring streak ever with 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, second to only Wilt Chamberlain. Instead of tanking, the Clippers made winning and culture their priority.

The Warriors, of course, haven't just been going to the postseason every year, but getting all the way to the finals once they do.

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Utah has won each of its last five appearances in a 4-versus-5 series. First, however, the Rockets must go up against the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors and Rockets are the two best teams in the league, in my opinion. The problem is their lack of consistent scoring outside of Donovan Mitchell. They are just too good defensively for the young Nets, and I believe the Raptors will win the series in five games.

Also, this blog owes an apology to the Portland Trailblazers.

COUSINS' CHANCE: DeMarcus Cousins makes his playoff debut after a nine-year wait, and after returning from a devastating injury - he missed almost a year recovering from surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon suffered last season with New Orleans. Again, I am going to take the higher seed. Unfortunately for them, they lost Jusuf Nurkić right when he was breaking out as a player. That's why he came to the Warriors as a free agent.

Key matchup: Enes Kanter vs. Steven Adams. For the Greek Freak to get to that next level, he needs to put the Bucks on his back and take them to the NBA Finals. When the playoffs began they were listed as "-210" in terms of their odds of emerging from the upcoming postseason as the top team. You can argue Kyrie Irving has the same amount of experience, but Leonard has been to the playoffs more, and has had more success. OKC swept the series - winning twice by nine points, once by two and the other in overtime. That's ridiculous. Back at full strength, Toronto is a force to be reckoned with in the East. It'll also be fun to watch DeMar DeRozan in the playoffs again, but without LeBron in his path. In the two losses against Denver, the Spurs guard averaged just 13 points and four assists per game. Based on the way last season went, the milestone game will come late in the conference-semifinal round or early in the conference-final round. Sometimes, he plays up to expectations. We'll see what he'll do this year. Brown improved enormously after the All-Star break, raising his three-point shooting percentage by nearly 10 per cent. The Spurs are jump shot dependent and efficient from beyond the arc. But first, they will have to get there.

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