The NBA Playoffs are here!
The first day of the official postseason for the world's finest professional basketball league will see, perhaps, the more competitive matches in both the East and the West.
(5) Toronto Raptors vs. (4) Philadelphia 76ers
The Raptors and Sixers meet with only a few faces from three years ago after rematch from their spectacular confernce semifinal series.
Philadelphia hung around the East for the most of the season, but stumbled in the middle portion of the season. Then, they traded for James Harden, and the move paid dividends. The 76ers have gone 18-9, and were able to secure a home court advantage for the second season a in-a-row.
The Raptors are back in the postseason after going through the playoffs for the first time in eight years last season. Toronto went on a stretch with eight of their last ten games, with their numbers now 15-7.
Philly must keep an eye on Toronto as the Raptors won three of the four regular season matches, including a 119-114 back on April 7.
(5) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks
The other 4-5 playoff matches will be equally as tight.
The Mavericks are hoping to reach the first round after winning everything in 2011, while notifying the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. The series will mark Dallas' first with a home court advantage since the Western Conference Finals during that run. After winning their last four regular games, the Mavericks are in hot mood.
The Jazz ended the season disappointingly with defeating the Clippers in the second round. This season, Utah still had a solid team, but they were not even as successful as they predicted in 2020-21. However, they won just four of their last 11 games, including a five-game losing streak, that pushed them down to fifth place in the West.
The two teams have splintered the four-game regular season series, but the home team scored the other.
(7) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (2) Memphis Grizzlies
After the franchise's best regular season ever, Memphis finished with 56 wins for the second time, marking the team's second-place finish in the West. Both the Grizzlies and their Grizzlies are also looking to win their first playoff series in 2015.
The Timberwolves make it to this point for the first time in four years, scoring a seventh-place finish in the West during the regular season, and winning a tie back in the fourth quarter to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers. Anthony Edwards scored 30 points in the tie.
Minnesota has certainly demonstrated that despite being the underdogs (no pun intended) they can compete against Memphis, as the two teams split the four-game season series.
(6) Denver Nuggets vs. (3) Golden State Warriors
Golden State is looking like a more complete team after losing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. They were able to secure the third-seed in the West thanks to winning their last five regular games, right after losing seven of eight to put the home court advantage in jeopardy.
Perhaps the lack of pressure might help the Nuggets improve their playoff performance in 2021. Nikola Jokic has led the team to a fourth-straight playoff spot with a 48-34 record, having only won five of their last eight games of the regular season.
Although they might be considered the underdogs, the Nuggets have the advantage on the Warriors coming into the playoffs, as they won three of the four regular season meetings, including both games in the Bay Area.