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Everything to know to open the 2019 NBA playoffs round

Basketball playoffs are back!

It was a long regular season (more or less 177 days), but the post-season arrived, and it looks a lot different than a year ago. For the first time since 2010, the East Conference will feature a team that is not led by LeBron James, and for the first time since 2005, James will not be involved in the holiday.

For players, teams and matches

2018-19 record: 57-25
BPI versus LAC: 89 percent

There were many emotional highs and minima, but through all this, this group continued to beat the wins and locked the first place in the West. The process of trying to get on most games in the regular season was emotionally exhausting, but the Warriors were persuaded that they would be ready when it was the most.

Season in one game: January 1

Soldiers stood up in opposition to Denver, hearing that Nyugets is ready to give them an impetus to the Western Conference. IN ORDER. Klay Thompson & Co. continued to score 51 records in the first quarter and destroy the overwhelmed Nuggets team. The game suggested reminding the rest of the league that warriors are still better than anyone else when they want to concentrate and play at their peak.



Stef Curry is the first to play Claude Thompson from 31 wins, with eight 3 pointers, in the Warrior victory.

There are problems with beer:
Soldiers are convinced that nobody can beat them if they stay healthy and play together. The Potential Series of the first round of Oklahoma City would be interesting given the history of Kevin Durant and his former team, but the only team that will give warriors a great pause in the West are the rockets, especially if Chris Paul remains healthy. But with the prevalence of home court in Oracle and the motivation to pursue a story, the only thing that really concerns warriors is the possibility of star injury.

Most 20-point losses with NBA Champ

Season Team 20th Losses
1974-75 Warriors 6
1960-61 Celtics 5
2016-17 Warriors
1977-78 [19659019] Markers 5
Source: Elias Sports Bureau

One great statistic and why it matters:
Whether the season is becoming too boring or the Golden State has some issues that may be late in the playoffs? The difference in the points of the soldiers plus -6.6 at home this season was worst than Steve Kerr (from 2014-15), and it is far from a plus-16.0 difference in points two seasons ago. Warriors also suffered eight losses by 20 points this season, which becomes important when you realize that no NBA champion has suffered more than six – 1975 Warriors – during the title title

Quinn Cook
The cook is a secret weapon of soldiers from the lava. The guarding point guard has found its way in the last few weeks, passing 48-for-78 in its last 10 games. He surely shoots on the mower, giving Kerr a solid lava variation. The cook has the ability to create a difference in short queues.

What to watch in Round 1:
DeMarcus Cousins ​​vs. Montrezl Harrell. This marks the first series of playoffs for the Cousins, and he will see Harrell, an active big man who is going to try to move him. Teammates and cousin trainers are looking forward to seeing him perform on this stage, now he will have the chance to spread the floor when needed, and knock on the blocks against Clipper. Cousins ​​actually played against the Clippers this season three times impressive, given that he played only 30 games since returning in mid-January from the injury of Achilles, which held him almost a year. In these three games, Cousins ​​averaged 13.0 points, 7.5 highs and 3.5 gears.

– Nick Friedell

2018-19 record: 48-34
11 percent

No team in the league has existed in the larger state of the current two seasons than the Clippers, but here they – incredibly – in the NBA playoffs. Far from long-time Lobby City wives, this Clippers team is a collection of travelers and young, promising lunches, many of which did not arrive before the trade when Clippers sent Tobias Harris. Instead of closing the store and preparing for a busy midseason after losing one of his most productive players, Clippers fired and provided himself with a playoff berth as the ultimate power team.

Season in one game: Feb 9
Three days after Harris and two new players who had not yet stepped into the training center at Los Angeles, Clippers were 28 points in the second quarter in Boston and drove to the 21st position. half. After the break, Clippers led the Celtics to 12-fold the third quarter before he broke out for 42 points in the final. Newbie Landry Shamet, purchased in Philadelphia as part of Harris's package, has exhausted four 3-pointers in his Clippers debut. "We disbanded JJ Redick with him," said Dock Rivers, referring to his old Guards Guard, praising him.

Why are they dangerous:
Almost every projection, the Clippers do not have to play in the playoffs of basketball, which means they have nothing to lose. Luis Williams believes he can score against anyone. Montreux Harrell plays with a reckless refusal, cursed a great moment. And there is no blow from a distance that Danilo Gallignari does not think that he can run out. Children – Shamet, Shay Gilgueus-Alexander and Ivica Zubak? They are too young to know better, and they move with confidence, earned during a racing run with the push of the "Clippers".

The best plus / minus in clutch time (2018-19)

19659016] Clutch +/-
LA Clippers +65
Denver Nuggets +55
Philadelphia 76ers [19659019] +43
Toronto Raptors +41

big stat and why it is important:
Clippers is probably the best team in the NBA when closing hard games. They have a plus-65 plus / minus tie in this season, the first in the league. Andrew Well Williams is a huge reason. His plus-92 plus / minus in clutch time ranks first in the NBA among individual players. The next best individual plus / minus in this season's tie-in is Denver
Nicole Yokich, plus-89.

Find out: Montreux Harrell
The second round is good, Harrell is more than just an energetic guy who buzzing on the floor. He can not start for Clippers, but it's a good bet to play crucial moments. The great man who has the Clippers backlog has serious skills as dance partner Lu Williams in one of the most effective attacks in the league, and he is a performance car with a rim nose. Among the players who register more than 24 minutes a day, Harrelle is second only to Giannis Antecunmppo as a percentage of the actual shootings. flashes of a long, protective presence on the top of the floor, which he designs to be. Now comes his final exam: Stephen Curry. Veteran Patrick Beverly will spend most of his time pursuing the Curry, but the 20-year-old Guard Clippers will have the first opportunity to use his time and agility against the Warrior Ballet in preparation for a day when the query is more reasonable and the Clippers are in a series of high stakes. Depending on how Clippers pay this summer, this may be earlier than later.

– Kevin Arnovits

2018-19 entry: 54-28
BPI odds vs. 71 percent

There are moments when the team ends the season in disappointment, but upside down, which leads to the expectation of the next season, the expectation of which is difficult to meet. Well, Nuggets did not just answer this expectation. They jumped into the stream and increased the past. Nicolo Yokich blossomed into the All-NBA star, and the combination of role-playing players and new talent led to an excellent team. Nuggets play defense, they move the mage and they have a terrific chemistry. But, as it is done for any young team, it is unknown how it will look in the pressure cooker from the post-season.

Season in one game: January 13
This sequence of games for Nuggets tells the story. In this mid-January game, they defeated Blazers 116-113 in a thriller, with Djokich going 40-10-8 and playing a brilliant fourth quarter. He even heard a rough shout of M-V-P while shooting free throws. The victory raised Nuggets to the top of the West, half the game on the Warriors. Two nights after the victory, Nuggets took hostages in Denver, a litmus test for a new brigade. Warriors fell to 51 in the first quarter and completely defeated the young Nuggets 142-111. This is an example of where they stand: they build, grow and turn into a true western contender. But against the NBA class, they were shown that there are still ways to go.



Nicola Jokich writes almost three with 40 points, 10 heels and eight transmissions

There is a problem with maturing:
The primary weakness of Naggets, if rightly called it, is their inexperience. They are young and still do not feel the play playoffs as a group. Being tall in the West, they will have an advantage in a series of open rounds and will be pressured to defend the home court in their first two games. They reacted throughout the season and settled themselves with an impressive maturity, but if the team of the double Jokik, can Jamal Murray make the correct reading? Can Harry Harris create his own shot in a critical scenario? Can all their winning players, Tori Craig, Monte Morris, keep shots with shots?

Most passes for the game to a teammate (2018-19)

TEAM DUO Missing
for the game
Nuggets Jokic-to-Murray 30.0 [19659021] Grasse Gasol-Conley 26.7
Pistons Jackson-Griffin 26.3
Hawks Collins youth 25.5
Nagrets Murray- Jockey 24.8
Source: Second Spectrum

One great statistic and why it matters:
When Jokich and Murray share the court – and the good things happen to Denver. The duet takes the first and second place, respectively, in the NBA in the passageways to each other for the game. Jokic finds Murray more than 30 times per game, and Murray gets him to Yokika almost 25 times per game. [196459002] Find out:
Malik Bisley and Torre Craig
What made Nagets so good this season are three to four candidates who fit into the shape of an unknown player who can make himself. Depth Nuggets was power, but head coach Mike Malone would have to focus on the eight or the nine guys he trusted most. Both Bylly and Craig took their turn as a wing changing the game and it's hard to predict who Malone might be on.

What to watch in the first round:
Derrick White vs. Jamal Murray. White has become one of the best defenders in the NBA, and Murray will have considerable pressure and responsibility on his shoulders. So many playoffs can be solved with a big shot or two in the last minute, and Nuggets will rely on Murray to create it separately. White long, ranks and athletic;

– Royce Young

2018-19 Record: 48-34
BPI chances against DEN: 29 percent

San Antonio opened a camp without a member of the famous big three franchisees Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobily and Tony Parker on the registry for the first time since the 1997-98 season. As a result, a new era of basketball "Spori" began. Despite early injuries and the hiccups of DeMar DeRozan and three other new players, San Antonio ripped off his way to a record 22nd appearance during the NBA season

Season in one game: December.
Even more difficult than winged mammals, who occasionally attack the floor of the AT & T Center, the impossibility of San Antonio to close the game. On December 15, defeat at Bullakh, in which Spurs fell to 21 points in the second half, made it clear that this is no longer the team of San Antonio, which performed less experienced opponents. Even internally, Spurs acknowledge that they can no longer rely on their "corporate knowledge" in the clutch situations they once had.


Chris Dunn gains 24 points for 11-19 firings, including a dagger, when the Bulls rally wins Spurry 98-93.

Why they are dangerous:
Spurs repeatedly beat everyone except one of the leading teams in the West (X'Ustone) throughout the season, and the process of shooting them took much more time than usual because they had to take off many complexities of the defense system to accommodate all new individuals in the warehouses. Although many teams discuss the desire to play their best after the post-season unfolds, San Antonio can actually move. For several years, spurs enjoyed the luxury of holidaymakers since the playoffs were approaching. But with the younger, less experienced register, San Antonio had to abandon its path, which in a way could lead to a more combat-tested detachment for the post-season.

One great statistic and why it is important: [19659008] Spurs could better defend themselves with their two most recognizable stars on their side. When LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are on the court together (2.242 minutes), Spurs have a defensive score of 109.7, which in this season takes 17th place in the league. When Aldridge and DeRozan both leave the court (828 minutes), Spurs have a defensive score of 102.5, which this season will be the first in the league.

Find out: Derrick White
White, who spent almost all his season in the G-League rookie, was forced into the starting lineup of the pre-season traumatic knee Dejounte Murray. He became an important part of the success of Spurs. He is the "Defense" candidate, who ranks second in the team in a pure rating (plus -4.3 points for 100 possessions).

What to watch in the first round:
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Paul Millsap. Nuggets can not ask Yokich to protect the sponsor guy, so the task gets to Millsap first, despite the 3-inch lack in height. Aldridge scored an average of 22.3 points, up 55.7 percent for the Spurs against Nuggets this season. San Antonio was 37-10, when Aldridge scored at least 20 points, including 2-1 against Nuggets. If the All-Star spurs are in the rhythm, San Antonio has a real chance to disrupt the bullying over the inexperienced seed No. 2.

– Michael S. Wright and Tim McMahon

2018 -19 record: 53-29
BPI odds against OKC: 57 percent

Stinging from the hands of the New Orleans pelicans in the first round of the playoffs last year, the Blazers began 10-3 and switched to a difficult February schedule to stay in the second tier of the western conference. Despite a devastating blow to the Jusuf Nurkic starting center before a difficult leg fracture on March 25, Portland took care of a business versus a weak timetable to win the home court's favor in the first round.

Season in one game: March 18
In addition to the fact that the pelicans became hot at the right time, the Blazers were canceled during last year's playoffs due to the inability of the players, except All-Star Damian Lillard, and CK McCollum play when New Orleans hit the trap. duo. Playing without McCollum (left knee injury) in this game, Lillard showed his development as a player, and his teammates showed their increased reliability in returning the victory to the pains of the Payser. In addition to 30 points, Lillard distributed 15 assists at the height of the season, and six Portland players scored in double digits



Damian Lillard records a double double in 30 points and 15 runs as Portland B & Is Indiana 106-98.

There are problems with beer:
With 18 points, Nuric was the second lead blaster in this game on March 18, part of his best season of his career. A week later, he lay on the floor of the Moda Center in an agony after he broke two bones in his left foot during an accident. Although Portland remained afloat against less competition without Nuric, it would be difficult for Blazers to replace his game when opponents capture Lillard and his defense against the competition against the playoffs. Add McCollum to return from injury, and Portland, healthy for most of the year, is much less than full force for the post-season.

Most points for direct choice (2018-19)

Team 19659016] Screener Och / Pick
POR Damian Lillard Zack Collins 1.22
MEM Mike Conley Joakim Noy 1.19
19659019] Eric Bledso Brook Lopez 1.17
Source: Second Spectrum

One great statistic and why it is important: 19659008] Lillard is one of the most deadly NBA balloon handlers. According to Second Spectrum, Trail Blazers averaged 1.11 points for direct choice, when Lillard has a handler, the highest NBA player among 173 players to get at least 150 direct elections. Lillard succeeded in picking and driving Zack Collins, one of the players who will try to fill the emptiness left by Nurek. Blazers averaged 1.25 points for direct choice with Lillard as M & E Handler and Collins as the best NBA player (min. 150 straight runs).

Find out: Zack Collins
Collins, in and out of the corner after Kanther's signing, played a bigger role due to the untimely injury of Nurik. Now the best protector of Portland rims, as well as the option on the distance between the floors on the 5th place (it is a 33% 3-ball shooter), Collins is likely to finish the game in the center.

What to watch in Round 1:
Damian Lillard vs Russell Westbrook. Оклахома-Сіті рідко відправляла двох захисників в Ліллард в пік-і-рол – всього 7,5 відсотка часу, за секунду відстеження спектра – дозволяючи йому грати бомбардиром в сезонній серії. 34,8 балів Лілларда за гру найбільше проти будь-якого західного супротивника. Проте Грім прокотив чотири матчі, частково тому, що Уестбрук був здатний ефективно забити проти Блейзерів. Багато в чому завдяки 9,3 спробам вільного кидка на гру, відсоток справжньої стрільби з Вестбрука на рівні .530 проти Портленда був набагато кращий, ніж його загальна кількість .500.

– Кевін Пелтон

2018-19 запис: 49-33
шанси BPI проти POR: 43 відсотки

За хвилину, Thunder не просто виглядав як хороша команда – вони виглядали як справжній претендент на титул. Але, як здається, їхати з ними, невідповідності наздогнали, і американські гірки почали. Важко спроектувати що-небудь, коли справа доходить до ОКК, тому що відхилення команди може бути настільки екстремальним. Грім може стати реальною загрозою на Заході на плей-офф, і вони мають ДНК небезпечної команди. Вони також можуть бути першими. Жоден з результатів нікого не здивує.

Сезон в одній грі: 14 лютого
У той час він відчував себе як нешкідлива втрата. Це була ніч перед перервою «All-Star», і «Тандер» їхав на чотирьох іграх і виграв 12 своїх минулих 13 років. Вони встановили себе як провідна західна собака, з вражаючими останніми перемогами над Philly, Portland. (двічі), Мілуокі та Х'юстон. Вони перекочувалися в Новий Орлеан, і, незважаючи на те, що Ентоні Девіс вийшов з гри – і на арену – з травмою в першому таймі, ОКК відмовився від 65 очок у першій половині, ніколи не виправив курс і втратив 131-122, незважаючи на 44 бали. від Рассела Вестбрука. Це було передвісником майбутньої скелястої половини, з недбалим захистом, поганою стрільбою та непослідовними, летаргічними виступами, змішаними з натхненними, твердими перемогами.



балів, 14 підборів і 11 передач, але грім падає на пеліканів 131-122.

Чому вони небезпечні:
Це досить проста річ з громом: PG і Russ. Такий комбо може виграти 75 в поєднанні самостійно, і повністю взяти на себе серію. Проти топ-команд, Thunder мав один з кращих записів в NBA в цьому сезоні і так багато, що тому, що Джордж і Westbrook підняли в цих великих іграх. Є деякі проблеми з здоров'ям Джорджа після того, як він пропустив фінальний матч сезону з болем у плечах, але при повному нахилі, Грім може бути швидким і лютим, з Уестбруком і Джорджем ревнують на тебе невблаганно

. 19659015] ПЛЕЙЕР

Пол Джордж 292
Джеймс Харден 277
Тадеус Янг 263
Маркус Смарт ] 226
Джерело: NBA.com/stats

Один великий статистик і чому він має значення:
Грім, щоб зробити глибокий пробіг в пост-сезоні, він зійде до Вестбрука і Джорджа, двох найкращих грав ців в НБА. За даними NBA.com/stats, Джордж очолює НБА в обох відхиленнях, а Уестбрук входить до п'ятірки в обох категоріях.

Дізнайтеся: Джерамі Грант
Джордж назвав його Х-фактором Грім, і важко не погодитися, тому що Грант є невід'ємною частиною успіху Грім. Його 3-точкова зйомка була значним розвитком (39,2%), але його електричний атлетизм і еластична універсальність дозволяють йому грати в тонну комбінацій лінійки. Якщо прогрес Грома, це, ймовірно, буде тому, що Грант добре грав у серії.

Що дивитися в Раунді 1:
OKC проти Enes Kanter. Якщо хтось знає, як атакувати Кантера, то це Грім. Тренер Біллі Донован був спійманий, говорячи: "Не можна грати Кантера" на лавці під час серії Thunder проти ракет в 2017 році. Без Jusuf Nurkic, Thunder, мабуть, має величезну перевагу в інтер'єрі і може поставити Terry Stotts і Blazers в прив'язка до лінійок. Крім того, колишній брат Стівен Адамс, мабуть, має номер Кантера.

– Young

2018-19 запис: 53-29
шанси BPI проти UTAH: 56 відсотків

Рокетам знадобилося майже два місяці, щоб перемогти їх від похмілля цього закриття минулого року в західному фіналі. Після копання дірки з 11-14 початок, Х'юстон їхав Джеймса Харден історичного наступального домінування назад у верхній корі Західної конференції, незважаючи на Кріс Пол і Клінт Капела відсутній тривалий час через травми. По дорозі, GM Daryl Morey скинув деякі помилки offseason (Carmelo Anthony, Михайло Carter-Williams) та додав деяку якість роль гравців (Austin Річки, Kenneth Faried, Iman Shumpert) щоб покращити Rockets 'глибина.

Сезон в одній грі: 3 січня.
Момент підписання сезону «Ракетів» – і кампанія Beard, яка повторилася як MVP – відбулася в останніх секундах перемоги над «Воїнами» в Oracle Arena 3 січня. З оскарженням Клай Томпсон зліва і Дреймонд Грін закриття, Харден запустив свою 23-ту спробу 3-точку ночі, буріння гра-виграш pullup з 28 футів. Це був знак оклику на 44-пункт, 10-відскок, 15-допомагають продуктивності, смішний стат лінії, які якось не здавалися занадто далеко за нормою для Харден в його історичному запуску. Повідомлення надіслано: Харден дає шанс Х'юстону перемогти будь-кого в будь-якому місці.



Джеймс Харден виявляє свою гру у другій половині і понаднормово, закінчуючи трійковим і ігровим 3

Виникають проблеми:
Чи може Пол залишатися здоровим протягом усього глибокого старту плей-офф? Чи може Харден зберегти свою ефективність після повного сезону з історично важким навантаженням? Павло, якому під час півфіналу конференції виповниться 34 роки, достроково закінчився передчасно через травми за два з останніх трьох років. Вболівальникам ракет не потрібно нагадувати про напруження підколінного сухожилля, яке він переніс у останню хвилину серії Х'юстона, яка перемогла в грі 5 у західному фіналі минулого року. Репутація Хардена для вицвітання в плей-офф – це перебільшення, засноване на парах жахливих ігор. Проте його 3-точкова стрілянина, настільки життєво важлива складова його рахунку, спостерігає за ведмедями. Він знімав суб-30 відсотків з глибоких останніх двох постсезонів, можливо, ознакою стомлених ніг.

Найбільш незахищені 3s в сезоні (історія НБА)

Сезон Гравець Unassisted 3s
2018-19 Джеймс Харден 317
2017-18 Джеймс Харден 196
2016-17 Джеймс Харден 179
2015-16 Стівен Каррі 177
2018-19 Кемба Уокер 146

Одна велика статистика і чому це важливо:
У цьому сезоні Харден висунув межі того, скільки злочину може зробити один гравець створювати, змішувати обсяг і ефективність тільки на рівні
Уілт Чемберлен ніколи не досягав. Харден зробив 317 незахищених 3-х покажчиків, знищивши рекорд НБА, і більше, ніж подвоїв продуктивність будь-якого іншого гравця цього сезону. Він мав більше 3аса, ніж будь-який гравець, крім Стівена Каррі, який зробив протягом усього сезону. Борода поділяє місце на зіркоподібному списку … з самим собою.

Дізнайся: Дануель Хаус молодший. до G-ліги, коли він досяг своєї відпустки днів обслуговування NBA на його двосторонній угоді і відмовився від пропозиції Rockets на трирічний мінімальний контракт. 6-фут-7 вперед дає Х'юстон атлетизм і стає нокдаун пляма-стрілялка (41,6 відсотків від 3), що робить його відмінним доповнюючим шматок. Він має чистий рейтинг плюс-14.0 балів на 100 володінь у 14 іграх, оскільки Рокетс підписав його на решту сезону.

Що дивитися в 1-му раунді:
Клінт Капела проти Руді Гоберта . Гоберт, який, ймовірно, буде Оборонним гравцем року вже другий сезон поспіль, повинен бути домінуючим стримуючим фактором на шляхах Хардена для того, щоб джаз містив історично елітні злочини Х'юстона. Капела робить це завдання ще більш складним, як загроза лоб, який має надзвичайну хімію з Харденом, який переважає на останньому роздвоєнному блюді для Капели.

– запис МакМахон

: 50-32
шанси BPI проти HOU: 44 відсотки

Так само, як і минулого сезону, джаз почав повільно і закінчувався сильним. Юта засідав другий-останній в турнірній таблиці Західної конференції через пару місяців у сезоні, після того, як наткнувся на рекорд 14-17 через дорогу, що пройшла важку частину розкладу. Оскільки Джаз потрапив у грув, Юта грає на елітному рівні. Найкращі бали НБА – єдина команда з кращим виграшним відсотком, ніж джаз з 1 січня.

Сезон в одній грі: 9 січня.
Як доречно, що ви можете вказати на масове повернення як поворотний момент у сезоні джазу? 9 січня Юта подолав дефіцит на 21 бал до 106-93 перемоги над Магією. Перемога витягнула рекорд Джазу до 21-21 і почала вигравати шість ігор. Джаз зібрався з двома важливими елементами для того, щоб грати на свій піковий потенціал: вражаючий забіг Мітчелла (22 з 33 очок у другому таймі, у тому числі 16 у четвертому кварталі) і домінуючий захист (тримав Magic до 30 очок після тайму). 19659238] play


Донован Мітчелл має велику другу половину, з 33 очками в 106-93 повернення виграти проти магії.

Чому вони небезпечні:
Гарні новини: Юта поїхав 18-6 після All-Star перерви, яка була третій-кращий рекорд НБА в цьому діапазоні. Погана новина: Ракети (20-5) мали кращий рекорд ліги після перерви. Але джаз – елітна оборонна команда з зіркою в Донован Мітчелл, який довів, що він здатний виграти серію плей-офф.

Найнижчий FG% дозволений на краю (2018-19)

PLAYER TEAM 19659016] FG%
Derrick Favors UTAH 50.1
Хасан Уайтсайд MIA 50.7
19659021] JaVale McGee LAL 52.2
Брук Лопес MIL 52.6
Руді Гоберт UTAH 52.9
Джерело: Second Spectrum

Одна велика статистика і чому вона має значення:
Руді Гоберт і
Деррік Фаворс відіграють важливу роль у внутрішньому захисті штату Юта. Згідно з Second Spectrum, Favors веде НБА у відсотках, що дозволені на ободі, а Гоберт займає шосте місце (мінімум 250 спроб). Гоберт також захистив більшість пострілів у цьому сезоні.

Дізнайтеся: Royce O'Neale
Шлях резервного свингера до НБА включав переїзди в Німеччині, Іспанії та Литві, перш ніж він зробив джазові Реєстр на початку минулого сезону. O'Neale зарекомендував себе як істотний гравець ролі: він є втілення 3-і-D, стріляє 38.6 відсотків з великої відстані і, на 6 фут-6, 226 фунтів, має силу і універсальність для охорони декількох позицій

Що дивитися в першому раунді:
Джо Дженглз. The Jazz need Ingles to be a scoring threat to have a shot to beat the Rockets. It's not a coincidence that Ingles had a career night — 27 points, 7-of-9 from 3-point range — in Utah's lone win over the Rockets in last year's West semifinals series. He averaged 14.5 points and shot 58.3 percent on 3s in the Jazz's two wins over the Rockets this season, compared to 8.0 points on 33 percent long-range shooting in Utah's two losses to Houston.

— MacMahon

2018-19 record: 60-22
BPI odds vs. DET: 94 percent

Armed with a new head coach, a two-way superstar and an edict to shoot 3-pointers at will, the Bucks are no longer the cute story or the ones that got away. Giannis Antetokounmpo's metamorphosis from doe-eyed, gangly rookie to MVP front-runner has led the Bucks to a league-best record of 60-22. Still, Milwaukee has not escaped the first round of the playoffs since 2001.

Season in a single game: March 17
Milwaukee has won a league-best 45 games by double figures — by the way, every other team to pull that off won the title — but it is a close loss against an East rival that best sums up their immediate future. Even though Antetokoumpo scored a career-high 52 points, the Bucks fell to the 76ers 130-125. Joel Embiid's 40 points were supported by 66 from his fellow starters. The Bucks' non-Greek starters, on the other hand, combined for just 47 points. Antetokounmpo will continue to put up big numbers in the postseason as he did last year against the Celtics, but the Bucks' success hinges on the play of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Milwaukee's deep bench.



Joel Embiid drops a team-high 40 points to lead the 76ers past the No. 1 team in the East 130-125.

There's trouble brewing:
The Bucks glided through the first few months of the season with only minor scrapes and bruises. Then Antetokounmpo's knee soreness began to irritate him, and a sprained ankle caused him to miss two games in March. Sterling Brown hurt his wrist. Malcolm Brogdon has been out since March 15 with a minor plantar fascia tear that is expected to sideline him until at least the second round. Nikola Mirotic fractured his thumb. Tony Snell sprained his ankle. The good news for Milwaukee is that every player except Donte DiVincenzo (out for the season with bilateral heel bursitis) will likely be healthy for the postseason. After aggravating a week-old ankle sprain on March 28, Antetokounmpo limped into the middle of a scrum of reporters and said, "As long as we stay healthy, we are going to be fine."

Most unassisted dunks in a season (past 20 years)

2018-19 G. Antetokounmpo 116
2006-07 Dwight Howard 95
2004-05 Shaquille O'Neal 93

One big stat and why it matters:
Giannis has been a dominant force all season, recording 116 unassisted dunks in 2018-19, the most in a season the past 20 years. In fact, Giannis is the only player with at least 100 unassisted dunks in that span. This is one of the reasons Giannis is averaging 17.5 points in the paint per game this season, most by any player since Shaquille O'Neal in the early 2000s.

Get to know: Brook Lopez
The Bucks seemingly stumbled into a deal with the perfect center for their MVP contender. Lopez joined the Bucks on a one-year deal at below-market price. Since then, Lopez's lights out 3-point shooting has caught the attention of the league. He routinely pulls up from near the logo and is shooting 36 percent from deep, which helps stretch the floor for Antetokounmpo. But in the playoffs, it will be Lopez's defense the Bucks will be calling on. As the Bucks face off against the likes of
Al Horford, Marc Gasol and Joel Embiid, Lopez will play a crucial role manning the inside. Although he's a bit slow and clunky, Lopez is big and disciplined, and his paint presence often discourages ball handlers from driving. He doesn't need to win his matchup every night, thanks to Giannis, but he does need to continue delivering quality contributions on both sides of the ball, like he has all season. If he does, Lopez should be in line for a hefty raise in free agency.

What to watch in Round 1:
Positionless bigs. Blake Griffin hobbled to the end of the regular season, sitting out the final game with a sore knee. Antetokounmpo has battled some knee soreness of his own but heads into the playoffs healthy and rested, sitting two of the Bucks' past three games. The Pistons' upset hopes hang on Griffin, who has struggled with injuries in recent postseasons and hasn't won a playoff series since 2015. In the teams' four meetings so far this season, Griffin averaged 24.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7 assists. The Bucks still won by an average of 15 points.

— Malika Andrews

2018-19 record: 41-41
BPI odds vs. MIL: 6 percent

The 2018-19 Pistons are one of the streakiest teams in recent memory, putting together four winning streaks of at least four games and four losing streaks of at least four games. They alternated between just over and just under the .500 mark the entire season, unable to move far in either direction. Their team foundation is their two strong big men — Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin — but the team's streakiness is tied almost entirely to its hot-and-cold perimeter shooting. The Pistons are unlikely to beat the top-seeded Bucks in a series but have the ability to steal a game or two if the shooters are on.

Season in a single game: March 3
The Pistons are built around Drummond and Griffin, one to control the paint and the other to provide dynamic offense, and they can be tough to handle when their perimeter players are on. This was epitomized in their March 3 overtime win over the Raptors, in which they clicked at every phase. Drummond notched as many rebounds and combined blocks/steals as Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam combined, Griffin turned in 27 points on 21 shots, point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith combined for 28 points and 12 assists, and shooters Wayne Ellington and Luke Kennard knocked down seven 3s on their way to 30 points. That was the Pistons firing on all cylinders.



Kyle Lowry puts up 35 points and Blake Griffin adds 27 as the Pistons win a big overtime game at home 112-107.

Why they're dangerous:
It all comes down to the bigs. Drummond is huge, athletic and a vacuum on the glass, while Griffin — if his sore left knee doesn't give him too much trouble — is still springy enough and has a versatile face-up game that is difficult for many traditional fours to handle. The Pistons rely on their bigs to create mismatches that put their perimeter players in advantageous situations.

Most points per direct handoff this season

Houston Rockets 1.06
Detroit Pistons 1.05
Philadelphia 76ers 1.05
Source: Second Spectrum

One big stat and why it matters:
The bread and butter of the Pistons' offense is the dribble handoff. According to Second Spectrum, Detroit averages 1.05 points per direct handoff, tied with the 76ers for second-best in the NBA. Only the Rockets have a higher handoff efficiency than the Pistons.

Get to know: Wayne Ellington
The Pistons can win only if their shooters are knocking down shots, and the most consistent shooter on the team is Ellington. He was traded to the Pistons midseason, and he ended the season by knocking down 39 percent from behind the arc to average 15.6 PPG and 3.5 3PG in his last 11 games. Drummond and Griffin should draw the defense and get Ellington some open looks, and if he knocks them down, the Pistons can steal a game or two.

What to watch in Round 1:
Blake vs. Giannis. The Pistons can compete only if Griffin stays healthy enough to win his fair share of 1-on-1 matchups. He has been aggressive in his four matchups with Antetokounmpo this season, taking 71 field goal attempts and dishing 28 assists in those games. Unfortunately, Antetokounmpo has forced him into horrible inefficiency, as he made only 42.3 percent of those shots and matched his assist numbers with 28 turnovers in those four games. Griffin has to be able to create scoring opportunities in an efficient manner for the Pistons to have a chance, so he has to win his 1-on-1 on offense on a regular basis.

— Andre Snellings

2018-19 record: 58-24
BPI odds vs. ORL: 89 percent

The combination of trading for Kawhi Leonard and archnemesis LeBron James leaving for the Western Conference had fans north of the border dreaming of a trip to the NBA Finals. Nothing that has happened since has led them to think otherwise, as Toronto has the league's second-best record, despite having both Leonard and Kyle Lowry miss large chunks of the season.

Season in a single game: Dec. 12
Yes, Leonard didn't play, but that's kind of the point. The Raptors have been almost as good when Leonard and Lowry don't play as when they do this season, and this night showed what they can look like at top gear, as they dismantled the Warriors — who had their four All-Stars all playing. This win, combined with a victory over the Warriors in Toronto that completed the season sweep, will give the Raptors confidence that if they can make it to the Finals, they can make it a series.



Kyle Lowry drops 23 points and Serge Ibaka adds 20 as the Raptors get their first win at Golden State in 14 years.

There's trouble brewing:
All season, the Raptors have looked like two teams: one when Leonard has the ball and one when he doesn't. Some of that is because Leonard prefers to play a more deliberate, isolation style, while the Raptors when he isn't on the court ping the ball around more frequently. There have been only a handful of games all season in which the Raptors have had their full allotment of players available. If there is one weakness to point to heading into the playoffs, it is that lack of time to sort everything out.

One big stat and why it matters:
Don't let the Raptors get out and run, as they are the NBA's best team in transition. According to Second Spectrum, Toronto's 1.22 points per chance in transition leads all teams by a relatively wide margin. They take advantage of that often, as their 1,639 valid chances in transition rank fifth in the league. Toronto is led by Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry in transition, ranking tied for first in points per chance in transition (min. 200 chances).

Get to know: Pascal Siakam
Siakam, who should be the clear winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award, has not only improved across the board but also helped keep the Raptors humming while having Lowry and Leonard missing time this season. He should be an All-Star next season and could be the player who puts Toronto over the top and gets the Raptors to their first NBA Finals.

What to watch in Round 1:
Aaron Gordon vs. Siakam. Frankly, there isn't a lot about this series that is exciting, but seeing two of the more athletic young forwards in the league go back-and-forth over the course of a best-of-seven series will provide at least one thing for neutrals to lock on to.

— Tim Bontemps

2018-19 record: 42-40
BPI odds vs. TOR: 11 percent

After six seasons in the lottery, the Magic returned to the playoffs under new head coach Steve Clifford, thanks to a second-half surge. Eleven games below .500 on Jan. 29, Orlando went 22-9 the next 31 games to clinch the Southeast Division championship and a playoff spot.

Season in a single game: March 26
In a crucial matchup of two in-state rivals vying for the Southeast crown, the Magic went south down Florida's Turnpike and helped spoil Dwyane Wade's night by holding the Heat to 42 percent shooting. First-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic had 24 points, 16 rebounds and five assists as all five Orlando starters and sixth man Terrence Ross scored in double figures. But the Magic, per custom, won with defense, holding Miami scoreless for nearly three minutes down the stretch to win a tight game.



Nikola Vucevic powers Orlando to a 104-99 win over Miami with 24 points and 16 rebounds to extend the Magic's win streak to six games.

Why they're dangerous:
You won't get anything easily against Orlando. Like all of Clifford's teams, the Magic prioritize taking away high-value looks at the rim and beyond the 3-point line. Orlando is one of four teams that rank in the top 10 in keeping opponents from shooting in both of those locations, per Cleaning the Glass, and forces the fifth-highest rate of midrange attempts in between. The Magic also excel on the defensive glass, ranking third, and boast the league's second-best transition defense, according to Cleaning the Glass. Any score against Orlando will be hard-earned.

One big stat and why it matters:
The Magic are hitting the postseason on a defensive tear. Orlando sports a 105.0 defensive efficiency since the start of February — best in the NBA — and went 21-9 in that stretch to charge into the playoffs. The Magic ranked 16th in defensive efficiency before this stretch, at 109.0 points per 100 possessions.

Get to know: Jonathan Isaac
Isaac is the quintessential Orlando draft pick of recent vintage: long, young and more athletic than skilled offensively. At 21, he has become the Magic's starting power forward in his second season. Expect Isaac to offer a taste of what's to come at some point during the postseason.

What to watch in Round 1:
The benches. The second unit has been a big factor in Orlando's second-half surge. With new backup guard Michael Carter-Williams on the court, Orlando has outscored opponents by an incredible 13.0 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA Advanced Stats. Meanwhile, the Toronto second unit has gone from a strength last season to something of a liability in 2018-19. If the Magic are to pull the upset, their bench will have to dominate this matchup. That probably means a strong series for former Raptor Terrence Ross, whose 15.1 PPG ranked fifth among qualified reserve scorers.

— Kevin Pelton

2018-19 record: 51-31
BPI odds vs. BKN: 79 percent

Philadelphia has gone through three iterations this season: the one that left training camp with the same starting lineup as last year intact; the one that dramatically changed when two of those starters, Dario Saric and Robert Covington, were traded for Jimmy Butler in November; and the final one that turned into after trading a large chunk of the roster at February's deadline, adding Tobias Harris and remaking virtually all of Philadelphia's bench.

Season in a single game: March 20
Not only did the Sixers finally get a win over the Celtics for the first time this season, but this game also showed the pros and cons of their recreated roster for the world to see. The Phantastic 5 — Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Butler and Harris — combined to score 110 of Philadelphia's 118 points on the night, proving just how overpowering they can be to opposing defenses. At the same time, this win highlighted how limited the rest of Philadelphia's roster is in the wake of those moves.



Joel Embiid goes off for 37 points and 22 rebounds as the 76ers top the Celtics 118-115. Kyrie Irving scores 36 points in the loss.

There's trouble brewing:
There are two glaring issues with Philadelphia's roster: a lack of shooting and a lack of a credible bench. Redick and Harris are terrific shooters, but the rest of the starting lineup is either inconsistent (Butler and Embiid) or nonexistent (Simmons) from deep. The bench, meanwhile, has only one player — Mike Scott — that opposing teams are legitimately concerned about come playoff time. The other options — James Ennis, T.J. McConnell, Jonathon Simmons and Boban Marjanovic — come with serious limitations that could be exploited by the elite competition Philadelphia will need to surpass in the postseason.

One big stat and why it matters:
The lineup consisting of Harris, Redick, Butler, Embiid and Simmons has the fourth best net efficiency this season among five-man lineups, behind only two Golden State lineups and a Pacers lineup (min. 150 minutes played together). The 76ers acquired Harris near the trade deadline.

Get to know: Mike Scott
Given how thin Philadelphia's bench is, Scott is going to have a significant role for Philadelphia as the lone reserve opposing teams are truly worried about. Scott has his flaws — he can space out defensively and is prone to making mistakes — but he's a lights-out shooter who is knocking down 39 percent of his 3s this season. On a team starved for outside shooting, that alone makes Scott a vital piece.

What to watch in Round 1:
D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Philly's defense. If this series is going to be interesting, it's going to be because Russell and Dinwiddie, Brooklyn's two-headed monster at point guard, have success attacking the 76ers' defense. Philadelphia has struggled to stop scoring point guards all season, and the Nets have two of them. If Brooklyn can exploit that weakness, this is a series. If Philadelphia can shore it up? Well, things get bleak quickly for the Nets.

— Bontemps

2018-19 record: 42-40
BPI odds vs. PHI: 21 percent

Back in August, you couldn't find many people outside of downtown Brooklyn who would predict a playoff berth for the Nets. The franchise averaged just 23 wins the past three seasons. But thanks to a breakout year from first-time All-Star D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn became one of the biggest surprises of this NBA season. Russell and the Nets followed the blueprint established by head coach Kenny Atkinson (play with pace; take shots from behind the arc and in the paint; defend the 3-point line and the rim) and weathered major injuries (Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert) to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Season in a single game: Dec. 7
Riding an eight-game losing streak with the season seemingly slipping away, the Nets got a clutch performance from Russell to secure an overtime win in Toronto. The game encapsulated the Nets' season, with Russell hitting clutch shots and Dinwiddie scoring off the bench to compensate for the absence of a key player (LeVert). Russell scored 29 points — including six in overtime — with five assists, and Dinwiddie added 17 points and eight assists off the bench help Brooklyn snap a 12-game losing streak against Toronto. The win seemed to spark the Nets; they won 19 of their next 24 to salvage the season and set up an unexpected run to the playoffs.



Kawhi Leonard has 32 points, four assists and four steals, but the Raptors lose to the Nets 106-105 in overtime.

Why they're dangerous:
If the Nets can put Russell in position to attack the paint and create open looks for his teammates, they have a chance to make things uncomfortable for the 76ers. Brooklyn went 11-7 when Russell had at least nine assists this season, per Basketball Reference. To make things interesting against Philly, the Nets probably need LeVert to play with the kind of efficiency he showed before his injury. The wing is shooting 37 percent from the field and 27 percent from beyond the arc since his return. If Brooklyn can get those two — and Dinwiddie — going and playing with pace, the Nets can challenge the 76ers' star-studded roster.

One big stat and why it matters:
While Philly's bench is among its weaknesses, Brooklyn's thrives. The Nets have received 47.8 bench points per game this season, and their ability to go 11 players deep makes this bench special. Brooklyn is one of two teams — the Nuggets are the other — that have had 11 players surpass the 1,000-minute threshold this season.

Get to know: Jarrett Allen
If the Nets are going to make things interesting against Philly, Allen will probably play a key role. The Nets' shot-blocking 21-year-old center will likely have the unenviable task of guarding Joel Embiid (Embiid had 39 points and 13 rebounds in Philadelphia's most recent game against the Nets). Allen will also be vital for Brooklyn on the other end of the floor: According to Second Spectrum, the pick-and-roll combination of Russell and Allen is the second-most-run play across the NBA (1,535 plays), just behind James Harden in isolation (1,548).

What to watch in Round 1:
Brooklyn's "other" guards, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie averaged 23.8 points per game while shooting 58 percent from the floor in four games against the Sixers. LeVert has found his shot late in the regular season after missing nearly three months with a foot injury. He averaged 16 points per game on 49 percent shooting in the final eight games of the season. If this duo, along with All-Star Russell, gets hot, things might get interesting.

— Ian Begley

2018-19 record: 49-33
BPI odds vs. IND: 66 percent

The only consistent thing about the Celtics this season has been their inconsistency. Boston entered the season as the team favored to replace LeBron atop the Eastern Conference, but it has been haunted by uneven play and back-and-forths between players on the team in the media. Still, the Celtics enter the playoffs as a team few are willing to count out because of their depth and playoff experience — though that depth took a huge blow with Marcus Smart being knocked out for the first two rounds because of a torn oblique muscle.

Season in a single game (or two!): Nov. 16-17
We're going to cheat a little and do two games here because it perfectly illustrates the bizarre nature of Boston's season. Beating Toronto in overtime might have been Boston's best win of the season and was a terrific performance. Then the Celtics lost the next night to the Jazz — a reasonable loss, especially on a back-to-back — and after the game, coach Brad Stevens went in on his team (a rarity for him), and Kyrie Irving (in what became a theme of the season) had pointed words for the team's young players. That Jekyll-and-Hyde act over those two days sums up the Celtics' 2018-19 campaign.



Kyrie Irving drops 43 points and 11 assists, leading the Celtics to a 123-116 overtime victory against the Raptors.

There's trouble brewing:
Wait, you mean trouble is brewing in Boston? Ми дитина. Anyone who has watched even a minute of Celtics basketball this season is well aware of the tumult and turmoil that have surrounded this team all season. And, as the postseason arrives, the heart of the Celtics — Smart — will all but certainly miss at least the first two rounds. Smart has been a legitimate first-team All-Defense-caliber player this season, and has taken large steps forward both in his overall field goal percentage (42.2 percent) and 3-point percentage (36.6 percent). More importantly, he is the obvious emotional leader of the Celtics. Losing him could be a death knell to this team's title chances.

Kyrie Irving in clutch time (2018-19)

NBA Rank
Points 159 3rd
Assists 30 4th
Field goals 57 1st
FG% 49.6 2nd*
*Minimum 50 clutch-time field goals

One big stat and why it matters:
The Celtics have one of the NBA's best closers in Irving, who ranks among the top of the league in several clutch-time stats. Irving has scored or assisted on 57 percent of the Celtics' points in clutch time this season (defined as the final five minutes of the fourth quarter/overtime and the score with five points).

Get to know: a bigger role for Jaylen Brown
If the Celtics are going to survive Smart's absence, it will be because Brown can step into the role Smart has vacated. Brown has been excellent off the bench the past few months and has arguably been Boston's third-best player since the start of 2019. He'll need to remain at that level if the Celtics have any hope of persevering without Smart.

What to watch in Round 1:
Gordon Hayward/Brown vs. Domantas Sabonis/Tyreke Evans. Indiana is going to have difficulty keeping up with Boston in this series from a scoring standpoint. One way the Pacers can is if Sabonis and Evans can give them some scoring pop off the bench. Well, Hayward and Brown have been among Boston's best and most consistent players for weeks now, and if they can continue to play that way, an already difficult road for Indiana to make this series competitive will get that much more difficult.

— Bontemps

2018-19 record: 48-34
BPI odds vs. BOS: 34 percent

This was essentially a tale of two seasons for the Pacers, who in one critical moment went from vying for a top-three seed in the top-heavy East to treading water as the season came to a close. Their defense is one of the league's best and kept them in most games down the stretch. But the jury is still out on whether the Pacers — without injured All-Star and franchise player Victor Oladipo — have enough late-game scoring to close out contests come playoff time.

Season in a single game: Jan. 23
Indiana's game on Jan. 23 summed up its season about as well as any other could. The Pacers were leading first-place Toronto in front of their home crowd when Oladipo blew out his right quad, a devastating injury that not only ended the All-Star's season but also likely ended Indiana's chances of making a significant playoff run. Yet for how deflating that image of Oladipo being hauled off on a stretcher was, the hard-nosed Pacers battled and held on to win in his absence — something they weren't built to do a season ago, when they went a dismal 0-7 in contests without him.

Why they're dangerous:
Even without Oladipo, no one should be shocked if the Pacers find a way to beat Boston in the first round. After all, they took LeBron and the Cavs to a Game 7 last year (albeit with Oladipo), and the Celtics have looked shaky for much of the season. Losing the battle for home-court advantage stings, but it might help that the Pacers' best perimeter shooter, Doug McDermott, has shot the ball much better on the road than at home. Plus, Indiana — 14-4 when hitting 12 3s or more — is hard to beat when it connects from distance.

Fewest points allowed (2018-19)

TEAM PPG allowed
Indiana Pacers 104.7
Miami Heat 105.9
Memphis Grizzlies 106.1
Utah Jazz 106.5
Orlando Magic 106.6

One big stat and why it matters:
If the score stays under 100 points, there's a good chance that Indy is coming out on top. The Pacers are 22-1 this season when limiting opponents to 97 points or fewer. The Pacers also held their opponents to 104.7 points per game during the regular season, the fewest in the NBA.

Get to know: Bojan Bogdanovic
Bogdanovic was vitally important for Indiana last season as the team's top defensive option on LeBron. But since Oladipo's injury, he has been the Pacers' No. 1 option on offense, initiating sets as a pick-and-roll ball handler and averaging about 21 points per game — up from 16 per game before Oladipo was sidelined. The Pacers need Bogdanovic to play well to win the series, but the forward averaged just 13.5 points against Boston this season, his lowest scoring average against any Eastern Conference team.

What to watch in Round 1:
The Pacers' traps vs. Kyrie Irving. If the All-Star guard gets it going, the Pacers might have to throw different looks at him to break his scoring rhythm. But if they opt to trap, will that effectively slow him down? Indiana misplayed an Irving screen-and-roll with Al Horford in the closing seconds of a March 29 game, allowing Irving to slither all the way to the rim for a game-winning bucket. But generally, the Pacers have struggled when trying to trap, surrendering 1.21 points per possession when trapping this season, the second-worst rate in the NBA, according to Second Spectrum.

— Chris Herring

Statistics provided by ESPN Stats & Information

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