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National Basketball Association basks in record crowds as regular season wraps up

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Thunder will play Jazz or Rockets in first round of NBA playoffs

Top NBA storylines in the first round.

Maybe the Cavs lucked out on playing a tough six seed in the Heat. While it's still very possible for both teams to make the Finals, it'll be a bit harder this year than in years previous. Toronto went a stunning 33-5 in games decided by 10 or more points, making them a solid double-digit margin play in prop betting.

The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday using all the Golden State Warriors launching the shield of their crown against the Spurs. Some of that may be due to his injury - he missed half the season in 2017-18 - but no matter what the reason the Wizards will need Wall at his best to advance. Antetokounmpo was in the MVP conversation at times this season after setting career highs in points (26.9) and rebounds (8.0) per game.

Hey, gotta support the team, am I right?

Since the 1983-84 season, winners of Game 1 have gone on to win the series 79 percent of the time.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been without their dominate big man, Joel Embiid, since March 28th. Most thought these two couldn't coexist at the start of the year, but they've been phenomenal together. But under the leadership of Simmons the 76er's have done the opposite.

The NBA announced Thursday that the league set an attendance record for the fourth straight season, topping 22 million fans for the first time.

National Basketball Association buffs in France and Australia have greater excuse to follow along with along with postseason than many others with seven people from every region on squad lists, followed by Canada and Spain using 4.

There are also individual milestones and team records on the line. Nonetheless, crunch-time Russell Westbrook came out to play and this team has spurts of looking like they could run with the Warriors. The teams split four regular-season meetings.

Also, the playoffs can be a coming out party for a host of relatively unknown 76ers.

The Timberwolves are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. But if the Thunder want to get out of the first round, Westbrook is going to have to trust the talent around him. With Paul playing second fiddle, the Rocket's will beat the Timberwolves, breeze past the Thunder and demolish whoever else is left in their way.

The Cavaliers have had more drama than an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. He is a clear defensive liability and could literally shoot the Thunder out of games.

And that's all thanks to No. 23, LeBron James. It's a stigma that afforded him the opportunity to compete in eight-consecutive National Basketball Association finals.

During that 14-year drought, the franchise had nine different coaches, used 131 different players, 92 different starters, took 93,776 field-goal attempts and scored 112,664 points. The next best scorer, Rodney Hood (good for 16.8 points per game), was traded away halfway through the season.

Raptor fans know all too well about LeBron's playoff switch.

The Cavaliers remade their roster at midseason, bringing in Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and George Hill. Giannis Antetokoummpo will own this, and Boston can't handle the Milwaukee Bucks without the injured Kyrie Irving. Other than that, this could be the beginning of the end if they're forced to let Leonard go. Cleveland swept IN in the first round a year ago, and Boston needed seven games to oust Washington IN a thrilling East semifinal series. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are both members of the NBA Social Media All-Star team if that existed, and Jusuf Nurkic is just plain nasty in the paint.

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