Kawhi Leonard Officially Out for Game 1

Kobe Bryant believes Le Bron James plays in a similar role to that of Draymond Green

GETTYKobe Bryant believes Le Bron James plays in a similar role to that of Draymond Green

Golden State has gone without Curry for 16 of the last 17 games as he worked back from another injury to his troublesome right ankle only to sprain the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in his return March 23.

For a change, the National Basketball Association post-season is wide open.

Still, each juggernaut remains the favourite to come out of their conference.

James Harden has been enormous this season and the addition of All-Star Chris Paul has been a game changer for the Rockets. The Wizards play the Toronto Raptors to open the postseason.

Houston went all-in over the summer to try dethroning the Warriors. With Durant and Thompson on the floor, the Warriors scored 122 points per 100 possessions in 939 minutes with Curry also on the floor, but just 108 per 100 in 750 minutes with Curry off the floor.

Golden State has an excellent 58-24 SU record, but they have trouble covering the spread (33-46-3 ATS).

And then, multiple injuries struck the Warriors.

And then, the Rockets emerged.

"I've just tried to be available to my teammates every single night and do everything that I could to win ball games".

Harden, after finishing second in MVP voting twice, should win the award this season - and deservedly so.

Kobe Bryant believes the Cleveland Cavaliers will be extremely dangerous in the playoffs
GETTYKobe Bryant believes the Cleveland Cavaliers will be extremely dangerous in the playoffs

San Antonio averages 43.8 points in the paint per game, which ranks 19th in the league. He'll look to reach the conference finals for the first time. "We might have lost some games and had some tough stretches but that doesn't define everybody here as an individual player". The Warriors will probably win.

So why are the Warriors still the title favourites? The roller coaster ride continued until the final buzzer of the regular season. Them losing to Houston wouldn't be a disappointment.

In early March, Durant told The Athletic: "It made sense to do the one-year deal".

The Celtics already have a solid nucleus and should improve next season once Gordon Hayward returns from the gruesome leg injury he suffered in October. Leonard recovers a step behind, switching onto Curry to as he shimmies away from the tangled mass of Parker and Durant.

Irving said that the Cavaliers "finally settled in".

Around him, the unlikely trio of Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson also thrive in the mid-range and in.

The Golden State Warriors were the better team overall in the season series, but that season series might not say all that much about the upcoming series. However, when the rubber hit the road and they needed a win over the Jazz in the regular season finale to secure the No. 3 seed in the West, they got the job done. One ties into our first bullet point above - he is the emotional leader of the Warriors.

That game exemplifies what could go wrong for Philadelphia in the playoffs.

Over their last 10 games they've allowed 109.9 points per game, which would have been the sixth worst in the league if extrapolated out for the whole season. They are just one point ahead of KFC Orange Three Pinelands and Pan American International Insurance Corporation Warrens Sports Club who are both on 13 each. "I play as hard as I can", Durant said. Even after being shorthanded to start these playoffs, the 2017 NBA Champions still have enough firepower to get through the first round. My prediction is a 40-10-8 game. It's a different year for us. DeRozan and Lowry will need to make some shots to have a shot. The Warriors are clearly the better team and should be able to overpower the Spurs.

The Rockets, 76ers and Raptors may be underdogs, but they're not insane bets.

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