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The Blue & Gray Press | October 22, 2017

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NBA Playoff update: First round matchups to pay attention to

NBA Playoff update: First round matchups to pay attention to

By MATHIEU WETMORE

Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Houston Rockets (8): A week ago, most people had the best NBA team in history, record wise, beating Houston in the first round. This belief was confirmed after an impressive Warrior victory in the first game. However, this highly anticipated playoff series has become more interesting with MVP front-runner Steph Curry’s ankle injury, forcing him to miss Game 2, which the Warriors still won. We will see how much time the MVP misses.

LA Clippers (4) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5): Every win is going to count in this series. After a commanding Clippers victory in Game 1, the Blazers must out-rebound the four-seed from LA to win, especially since Chris Paul was determined to assert himself as the alpha guard early in this series.

Oklahoma City Thunder (3) vs. Dallas Mavericks (6): Some might wave it off, but the Mavericks stunned the Thunder in Game 2 to tie up their Western Conference playoff series at 1- 1. Fans are already looking forward to Game 3 in Dallas on Thursday night, as well as another dance-off duel between Russell Westbrook and Charlie Villanueva.

San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7): The Spurs recently set the record for home game victories in an NBA single season. They are set to cruise past the Grizzlies in this series, especially since all-stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will be watching from the bench due to injuries.

Cleveland Cavaliers (1) vs. Detroit Pistons (8): The Cavaliers are out for revenge this year, after their loss to the Warriors in the Finals last summer. The Pistons will need to maintain their high shooting percentage they demonstrated in Game 1, if they hope to rain on LeBron’s parade this series.

Atlanta Hawks (4) vs. Boston Celtics (5): This series will be the most even matchup in the Eastern conference. The Hawks almost blew a 19-point lead to the Celtics in Game 1, but ended up winning by one point.

Miami Heat (3) vs. Charlotte Hornets (6): The Heat routed the Charlotte Hornets 123-91 on Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Miami out-rebounded Charlotte 42-28, and outshot the Hornets 58 percent to 43 percent.

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Indiana Pacers (7): The Raptors’ defense won Game 2 to tie up the series at 2-2; the Pacers shot just 41 percent. In Game 1, the Raptors played solid defense, but Paul George was able to do just enough damage to sneak the Pacers by.