10 Issues to Know because the Tourney Begins – NBC Los Angeles
One of the best time of the NBA season is right here. The playoffs have arrived, the 16-team discipline that may vie for the Larry O’Brien Trophy is about, and listed below are 10 storylines to observe alongside the best way:
A pair of lengthy droughts for followers in Los Angeles and New York might finish within the subsequent few days.
The final time the Los Angeles Lakers received a playoff sport in their very own constructing, Staples Middle, was Might 18, 2012. (Keep in mind, every part final season was at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.)
Let’s put how way back Might 2012 was in some context: At that time, LeBron James nonetheless had zero NBA championships, and the Lakers’ win that day was in opposition to an Oklahoma Metropolis workforce that had Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
And it has been greater than six years — since April 27, 2015 — since a house workforce received a playoff sport in New York. The Brooklyn Nets beat Atlanta that day; the Nets haven’t received a house postseason contest since. The New York Knicks open at house Saturday, in opposition to Atlanta, of their first playoff sport since 2013.
This season’s NBA playoff pool is simply over $20.8 million, down about 10.6% from final 12 months.
All 16 playoff groups are assured a chunk of that pool, with the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds getting not less than $310,745 only for making the primary spherical.
The Utah Jazz have already secured at least $1,436,750 — a few of that for ending with the NBA’s greatest report, some extra for successful the West’s No. 1 seed. If the Jazz win the NBA title, they might wind up with $6,104,876, or roughly 30% of the pool.
The Los Angeles Lakers obtained $6,156,251 for successful final 12 months’s title.
That is the fourth consecutive season during which the pool might be not less than $20 million.
Lakers star LeBron James enters these playoffs because the NBA’s all-time chief in minutes, video games, factors, photographs taken, photographs made, free throws taken, free throws made, steals and 3-point makes an attempt. He’s second in 3’s made with 414, which trails solely Golden State’s Stephen Curry by 56.
That each one stated, there are few data nonetheless inside his short-term attain.
If the Lakers make a deep run, he might catch San Antonio’s Tim Duncan for many defensive rebounds; Duncan grabbed 2,081, James is as much as 1,954.
There may be one milestone he might realistically hit. James is 142 factors away from 43,000 for his profession when combining each regular-season and playoff video games. Solely Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (44,149) has extra.
Phrase to the smart: Don’t take a look at the rating of a Denver-Portland sport after three quarters and say “this one’s over.”
It won’t be the case.
The Nuggets and Path Blazers had been two of the league’s greatest groups at engineering fourth-quarter rallies this season. Denver received an NBA-high 13 video games when it wasn’t main going into the ultimate quarter; Portland received 12 such video games, tied with Washington for second-most within the league.
On the flip facet, the No. 1 seeds in these playoffs bought there as a result of they knew find out how to end video games. Utah was a league-best 45-2 when main after three quarters, and Philadelphia was No. 2 within the NBA in that division — going 39-3 in these conditions.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers has some playoff milestones in sight.
He’s 9 wins shy of turning into the fifth coach in NBA historical past with 100 postseason victories, becoming a member of Phil Jackson (229), Pat Riley (171), Gregg Popovich (170) and Larry Brown (100). Purple Auerbach (99) is at present fifth on the listing, Jerry Sloan (98) is sixth, Rivers (91) is seventh and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (85) is eighth.
Rivers has coached in 180 playoff video games, seventh-most all time and is inside attain of No. 6 George Karl (185), fifth-place Brown (193) and fourth-place Sloan (202).
NOTHING TO LOSE
Washington bought into the playoffs with a 34-38 common season report, making the Wizards the fourth workforce within the final two seasons — and the forty seventh workforce for the reason that league went to the 16-team playoff format in 1984 — to achieve the postseason regardless of ending beneath .500.
Now comes the powerful half.
Solely a kind of earlier 46 groups on this format has received a playoff sequence; the 1987 Seattle SuperSonics received two to achieve the 1987 Western Convention finals.
Since that season, sub-.500 groups are 0-29 in first-round matchups. The eighth-seeded Wizards meet No. 1 Philadelphia.
Right here’s the division winners this season: Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Utah.
Historical past says a kind of six groups will win the NBA title.
Beginning with 2012, each workforce to make the NBA Finals has achieved so after successful a division championship. The 2011 Dallas Mavericks had been the newest workforce to not win its division however make the finals; they received the title that season.
Dallas beat the Los Angeles Clippers by 51 factors on Dec. 27, last rating that day 124-73 within the third sport of the season for each golf equipment, and now the groups are about to satisfy within the first spherical of the Western Convention playoffs.
It’s a singular reunion.
The final time two groups who had a sport determined by 50 or extra factors wound up assembly in that season’s playoffs was 34 years in the past. Seattle beat Houston within the 1987 Western Convention semifinals, 5 months after the SuperSonics beat the Rockets 136-80 in a daily season contest.
Blowouts appear to be a little bit of a development in Dallas-Clippers video games. Essentially the most one-sided sport within the playoffs final season was the Clippers beating the Mavericks by 43 factors, 154-111.
Washington’s Alex Len has appeared in 531 regular-season video games. New York teammates Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle have performed in 450 and 446, respectively.
None has ever appeared in a playoff sport. That each one ought to change this weekend.
Amongst lively gamers, they had been the three within the NBA with probably the most video games performed with no postseason look. As soon as all of them get right into a sport — Washington faces Philadelphia, whereas New York faces Atlanta in Spherical 1 — the lively participant with probably the most appearances and no playoff minutes might be Chicago’s Zach LaVine. He’s performed in 411 video games to date, all of them common season.
AND HELLO, MAYBE?
Phoenix’s Chris Paul has performed in 109 playoff video games, however nonetheless has by no means been to the NBA Finals.
He’s approaching the report in that division.
Solely 5 gamers in NBA historical past — Al Horford (124), Joe Johnson (120), Paul Millsap (120), Steve Nash (120) and Terry Cummings (110) — have been in additional postseason video games with out ever attending to the NBA Finals.
Nash would possibly get there this 12 months; he’s the coach of the East No. 2-seeded Brooklyn Nets. Paul and the Suns additionally determine to have an actual likelihood, since they’re seeded No. 2 within the West for these playoffs.
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