National Basketball Association releases pool of 36 referees for first round

"Individually you have great players who haven't had the great fortune of winning championships", he said, "but by and large I don't think it's unfair to put that pressure on winning championships because that is the name of the game: to win championships".

No.1 seed Toronto Raptors, will host the No. 8 seed Washington Wizards. Assuming Embiid plays in this series, it will not be that close. However I believe that with the return of John Wall adding an all star frontcourt this can cause some troubles for Toronto.

Next we match up No. 2 seed Boston Celtics against the No.7 seed Milwaukee Bucks. Every playoff team has at least one worldwide player on its roster, with Utah and Philadelphia both featuring seven and Boston, Toronto and San Antonio six each.

But the most intriguing should be the Golden State-San Antonio matchup - because once again, just like a year ago, the Spurs will nearly certainly be without Leonard. But Milwaukee is equally green when it comes to playoffs, so this series will come down to whether Boston can stop Giannis, and whether Milwaukee can play defense. This may be a quick round.

In Game 1, rookie Ben Simmons [VIDEO] almost achieved a triple-double in the team's series-opening win. They are facing a hard-nosed, fearless Miami squad, who are well coached, disciplined defensively, and feature a variety of players who could hurt the inexperienced 76ers.

First, we have to discredit the 13 other teams and why they don't hold enough talent to make it to the Finals. Part of the reason why so many teams finished better than.500 this season is because so many teams were throwing away games; part of the reason why all of the teams who finished with fewer than 30 wins won at least 21 games is the sheer number of double-tank games played in the season's second half.

Lastly the No. 4 seed, Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to get back to the finals as they are opening in the first round to the Indiana Pacers.

National Weather Service confirms EF-1 tornado in Decatur County
A spokesman for the Summit County EMA says Barberton and Copley were the hardest hit areas during Sunday night's storm. Tornadoes damaged several homes in neighboring Union County, which had two tornadoes, County Judge Mike Loftin said.

Historically the Eastern Conference has been a cake walk for LeBron James.

The Timberwolves outlasted the Denver Nuggets in a thrilling 112-106 overtime victory last Wednesday that determined the eighth seed in the West and earned Minnesota the honor of playing the 65-win Rockets in the first round.

The NBA has been stressing better relationships between referees and players for months, and teams do provide some of the feedback that goes into the evaluation process for choosing which officials make the playoffs.

"We know what it takes this time of year in order to win". However, if they trust in the coaching of Spoelstra and their stars perform supported by relatively consistent shooting, they could do damage in the postseason.

The Warriors are -1250 on the National Basketball Association playoff series prices, a number that would be much different if San Antonio had its superstar, Kawhi Leonard.

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. It's going to likely be the closest series in the East, decided between the best player and the best system. I will still go with the 76ers though because of the fact that they have Ben Simmons and Embiid, not to mention veterans in Redick and Belinelli, plus two solid forwards in Saric and Covington.

While the Houston Rockets don't open their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves until Sunday night, the team made sure to keep their fans hyped up ahead of the round one matchup. Even the most recent League MVP has not been able to click together.

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