On April 14, the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards by a score of 114 to 106, starting the annual National Basketball Association(NBA) Playoffs. The NBA regular season, which occurs before the playoffs, played out differently than what many people thought.
The runner-up in last year’s NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers, won 50 games this season,which put them in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They lost many games towards the end of the season, but recovered in the playoffs and were able to reach the Eastern Conference Finals behind All- Star forward LeBron James.
The team with the highest chances of winning the championship this season, according to ESPN, is the Houston Rockets. Other than adding the nine-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul, they have the NBA MVP favorite James Harden, who has averaged over 30 points a game this
The Boston Celtics, who will also play in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Cavaliers, had an injury-plagued season. After adding a 20 points per game scorer in Gordon Hayward to the team, he fractured his tibia and dislocated his left ankle just six minutes into the first game of the year.
The Celtics also traded for five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the offseason, exchanging three players and a first round pick for the guard. He received knee surgery late in the season after averaging more than 25 points per game this season and is now out for the rest of the playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors are back in the playoffs after winning the championship last year, making their way to the Western Conference Finals to oppose the Rockets. They, like the Cavaliers, have made it to the NBA Finals for the last three years. They are looking for their second championship in a row and their third championship in four years.
According to sophomore Frank Fishman, the Warriors are the favorite to win the NBA Finals again this year and not the Rockets as some may believe.
“It’s the Warriors’ series to lose. All season we’ve been hearing, ‘The Rockets have surpassed the Warriors.’ Until they actually do it, I don’t see it happening. Houston is a one-dimensional offense and lacks defensive prowess. Golden State is too good and too deep. They’ve been here before, and they’re about join the Celtics, Lakers, and Heat as the only franchises to make the finals [for] four straight years,” Fishman said.