Out West, the Houston Rockets gave emerged as the top dog with the best record in the league and for the first time in three years, they have altered the narrative in that not everybody is in agreement that the Golden State Warriors is a lock to emerge as the Western Conference champions.
The top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, Toronto made 16 of 30 3-point attempts, with Miles making four, and Ibaka and Wright each hitting three.
Golden State are lagging behind as they head into the first round of the postseason with one of the most devastating arms in their arsenal still out of commission.
With LeBron having such a great year already, I am certain his playoff run will be even more explosive. They have an experienced closer in Dwyane Wade who may be past his prime now but with the balanced playoff schedule, can perform in clutch times when called upon.
And given the way they played on Saturday, they might have sandbagged the entire league.
That process used to determine the first-round pool remains in play, as the group gets pared down for subsequent playoff rounds. Still, there is a young team led by a talented rookie that just might sweep the rug from under the divison favorites. Whilst Embiid may miss the opening games, Ben Simmons is coming into his first playoffs with all the confidence in the world.
Oladipo is in his first season with the Pacers. However, his outside shooting is to be desired. It's a testament to how good the rest of the team is that the Raptors were still able to score 114 points, which was 2.3 more than their regular-season average. The Sixers could end this one early with Embiid back in the lineup.
Interested in watching the 2018 NBA Playoffs online? Those teams are the Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. With the confidence of beating the Sixers, the Heat would come in with a swagger and an attitude that could knock off another opponent.
Portland led by All-Star Point Guard Damian Lillard won 49 games this year to earn the 3 seed.
The Miami Heat have the same issue.
Lastly the No. 4 seed, Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to get back to the finals as they are opening in the first round to the Indiana Pacers. However, stopping them is another matter. Under the new system, starting in 2019, the teams with the three worst records each will have a 14 percent chance at the No.1 pick.
Let's take a moment and look back at the season that was.
The Warriors are -1250 on the National Basketball Association playoff series prices, a number that would be much different if San Antonio had its superstar, Kawhi Leonard. This opens the door for the Spurs. Without Steph Curry playing to his full potential and great shooting abilities, the Warriors are simply not the same team.
No active players have appeared in more regular-season games without any getting any postseason run than Casspi and Cousins. "If that's the way it's going to be, then we've got to conquer it", Spoelstra said. Either way, the Spurs will have to produce an incredible team effort to slow down the offense of both teams.
Some of those struggles should be credited to an unbelievable defensive performance from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, who proved why he's gotten a lot of love over the past couple weeks for all-defensive team honors. "You never know where you're going to be day by day, week by week". Any Spurs victory will likely be hand-delivered by a Warriors team that takes its foot off the pedal.