NBA playoffs nearly set


TAYLOR COUNTY—After two weeks in the “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, the NBA playoff bracket is nearly set. 

Results from Wednesday’s games filled in five of the six unknown matchups for Round 1 of the postseason, which will begin on August 15th.

In the Western Conference, Houston and Oklahoma City will meet in the first round, as Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and Thunder guard Chris Paul will get the chance to face off against their former teams.

“It’ll be interesting,” Paul said. “Two teams that know a lot about each other. We’ll prepare, get ready, and we’ll see what’s what.”

Other matchups in the West that were clinched on Wednesday include the #2-seeded Los Angeles Clippers against the #7-seeded Dallas Mavericks, and #3 Denver against #6 Utah.

In the Eastern Conference, Indiana will face Miami in the first round.  The two teams played in the regular-season finale yesterday to decide who would be seeded #4 and #5, although results from that game were not yet available.

Indiana’s win over Houston on Wednesday decided what had been the last two unknowns in the East. #3 Boston will play #6 Philadelphia and the Pacers are now set to play an opening series against the Heat with the potential of those teams playing nine times in a 10-game span.

Miami beat Indiana on Monday and the teams met again yesterday. They will face off in Game 1 early next week to begin a best-of-seven series.

There is some significance there, because for just the second time in the last nine years, teams that ended the regular season playing one another will open the postseason against each another. The last time that happened was in 2016 when Cleveland faced Detroit.

“It’s good to know that we play them,” stated Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “Just need to figure out what uniform we’re wearing.”

The other matchups in the East were already revealed. #1 Milwaukee plays #8 Orlando, and #2 Toronto plays #7 Brooklyn.

In the West, Houston and Oklahoma City will be the #4 versus #5 matchup with Utah earning the #6 seed.

The full list of matchups won’t be known until Saturday at the earliest, when the West play-in series begins with Portland, Memphis, Phoenix, and San Antonio all fighting for those two spots. The winner of that series will face the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

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