The Warriors, winners of two of the past three NBA Finals, weren't their usual dominant selves this season with "only" 58 wins and second in the Western Conference, but they were hit by injuries.
Houston finished 65-17 and has looked phenomenal, especially when Chris Paul and James Harden are on the court together, but the Warriors showed they have no interest in renouncing the National Basketball Association throne as they crushed the San Antonio Spurs 113-92 in their 2018 playoff debut.
BOSTON (AP) - Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton's long 3 that beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series.
There were winners, and, naturally some losers from the Game 1 action across the US. The Wizards have talented players who most likely hate each other.
If there was a flawless opportunity for Minnesota to steal a game at the Toyota Center, it was Sunday night; Houston won't play that bad again this series. They have won the regular season matchup three games to one, however; the Warriors were without Steph in the game they lost against the Spurs. They have gone 17-wins in a row and are not merely beating teams; they are embarrassing their opposition.
The five active officials with the most playoff experience are all headed back to the postseason this year: Ron Garretson, Ken Mauer, Mike Callahan, Derrick Stafford and Scott Foster have combined to work almost 1,000 playoff games. Unless he can make a return, the Warriors can march themselves past the Spurs even without Stephen Curry in five games.
Syria shoots down missiles over air bases
The reported strike comes days after the US, UK and France bombed Syrian military facilities over a suspected gas attack in Douma. A local reporter for The Arab News said Israeli warplanes were spotted in Syrian airspace just before the missiles were reported.
Given how in flux Cleveland's rotations have been all season, the guess here is that there will be plenty of changes in Game 2 (not including a potential George Hill injury). "If he missed foul shots in one of our games, he would punish himself by going home and shooting 500 free throws in his backyard". An upset here would make for a significant payday for punters. Additionally, the Raptors have a big support system from the city of Toronto.
The Pacers stole a victory in Cleveland in Game 1 and Victor Oladipo isn't surprised in the least. I am going to trust the processes of Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to get them past my Miami in six games. The Celtics won due to a 14-8 performance in extra-time, and if the Bucks don't sort things out in the clutch, their chances at the next round will be over sooner rather than later. While Giannis Antetokounmpo will present a mismatch for the Celtics as the best player on the floor, Brad Stevens could present an equal mismatch in game planning and preparation against Joe Prunty. But at the end of the day, they're up 1-0 no matter which way they did it. These teams are more evenly matched than what it looks like on paper, and this series will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting to follow.
The Raptors host Game 2 on Tuesday.
The question is whether Curry can return for the second round, which would mean a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers or New Orleans Pelicans. Let's first look at the East: the Raptors are undoubtedly the best all-around team, despite their traditionally slow playoff starts. Cleveland is down, but not yet out, though it does look that way. They've gone to great lengths, and had quite a bit of success, changing their style of play and expanding their bench in the past year.
Tatum finished Game 1 with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block, showing that he may have found a new gear. Game 2 is on Thursday Night at 00:00 GMT.