The NBA playoffs have been whittled down to the final eight teams, and the action is set to begin next week, when the San Antonio Spurs face the New Orleans Pelicans. The matchups have been announced, and there are some interesting match-ups.

The NBA season is fast approaching. The playoffs begin in mid-April, and some of the teams will be playing in the first round of the playoffs for the first time. This year’s playoffs have some interesting teams in it, and we are here to give you everything you need to know about these 16 teams.

The NBA playoffs are right around the corner, and it’s time to make your picks for the best team in the league.. Read more about nba standings playoffs 2021 and let us know what you think.The 2020-21 NBA playoffs are finally here. And this thing is as open as ever.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards made it through the qualifying tournament and are now among the 16 teams still with a chance to win the NBA title. Here’s everything you need to know about each of them, including the main challenges, the stats to follow and the main matches in each first round and final series.

Message: Las Vegas odds are provided by William Hill’s Caesars Sportsbook. Statistics provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research.

Illustration from ESPN

Go to :
East and West.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Philadelphia 76ers
2020-21 Record: 49-23
BPI coefficients vs WAS: 91%
Vegas Title Opportunities : +700

2 Connected

After an offseason full of changes, including a new president of basketball operations (Daryl Morey), a new coach (Doc Rivers) and two new players (Danny Green and Seth Curry), the Sixers led the Eastern Conference for most of the season and finished in first place. This is largely due to the play of Joel Embiid, who, if available, could have been the most dominant player in the NBA and had perhaps the best season of his career.

Biggest problem for the
playoffs Can this team score enough points? Aside from the obvious injury risk, no one doubts Philadelphia’s ability to play a stifling defense when intact. But the 76ers’ defense, ranked second, is superior to the offense, ranked 13th, which can falter, especially when three-point shooters fail. Add to that the problem of scoring late in games, a problem Philadelphia has had for years, and it remains to be seen if the team will fix it this season.

The match to watch in the first round: Philadelphia’s perimeter defense vs. Beal
Although Bradley Beal still didn’t look like himself this week after missing several games with a hamstring strain, he had enough energy to get Washington into the playoffs. However, the difficulty will increase exponentially. The Sixers have a trio of perimeter defenders who are as good as it gets in the league: finalist for Defensive Player of the Year Ben Simmons, veteran Danny Green and young Hawk Matthysse Thibullet. Beal scored 60 points against Philadelphia in January. He needs a few games like this for Washington to have a real chance to advance.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion. The Sixers are one of the few teams that should go into the postseason feeling like they have a legitimate chance to win. With Brooklyn and Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference semifinals, it would be unacceptable for Philadelphia to not at least reach the Eastern Conference finals, something the 76ers haven’t done in 20 years.

For the
76ers, 50% of the capacity of Wells Fargo Arena is allowed.

— Tim Bontemps

A statistic to keep an eye on
This season, the 76ers rank second in defensive efficiency (107.0) behind the Lakers (106.8), and the defense has been outstanding at every position. According to ESPN’s Real Defensive Plus-Minus data, the 76ers are the only team with a top-10 player at every position: Danny Green (third among SF), Tobias Harris (fourth among PF), Joel Embiid (sixth among C), Ben Simmons (fifth among PG) and Seth Curry (eighth among SG). -José De Leon

2. Brooklyn Nets
2020-21 Record: 48-24
BPI v. BOS Ratings: 80%
Vegas Title Ratings : +220

The Nets are a team full of talent, but they have been unable to stay healthy this season. Since acquiring James Harden in January and departing Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, the Nets’ three big men have played just eight games together: Kyrie Irving missed several games for personal reasons and several minor injuries, Kevin Durant missed more than a month with a hamstring strain and two absences related to investigating contact with the coronavirus, and Harden missed more than a month with a hamstring strain before returning to the lineup for the final two games of the regular season.

Biggest Challenge for
-Playoffs The biggest challenge for the Nets is getting through the postseason without injury. The smallest number of games the three top scorers of a championship team played together during the regular season is 10. The Lakers played just 10 games with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher during the 2000-01 season. Yes, the Nets have had a limited number of games to build chemistry, and yes, they have been able to raise the bar that the Lakers have set. Still, as long as the Nets stay healthy, you can’t find a better trio currently fighting for the championship.

The match to watch in the first round: How to Stop Jason Tatum
With Jaylen Brown out for the postseason, the Celtics can only go so long if Tatum leads them. Tatum has scored 60 points this season, is 10th in the league in scoring and has scored just 50 points in the play-in tournament. The task of defending Tatum will likely fall to Durant, who coach Steve Nash has called the team’s best defender. Durant, a two-time MVP of the Finals, is making his first appearance in the postseason since tearing his right Achilles tendon in the 2019 Finals.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion. The Nets are one of the strongest teams in NBA history. Despite only playing a few regular season games with a full team, they still have the best offensive rating in the league and score the second most points per game, making them a formidable opponent for anyone.

Nets fans may attend 10% of the capacity of the Barclays Center.

-Malika Andrews

A statistic to keep an eye on
There is no doubt that the Nets want Harden available when the game is on the line. In games against the Nets in which he has played crucial minutes, the team has finished 18-2 with a field goal percentage of 59% and an offensive efficiency of 128.9. Without them, these numbers have dropped significantly: Brooklyn is 9-11 with a field goal percentage of 48% and an offensive efficiency of 112.9 when the Beard sits. -José De Leon

3. Milwaukee Bucks
2020-21 Record: 46-26
BPI vs. MIA Quota: 55%
Vegas Title Odds : +750

After two excellent regular seasons that did not result in postseason success, Milwaukee has changed its approach. It was clear to coach Mike Budenholzer that he needed to be more flexible in his schedules on both sides to better prepare for the playoffs, and he did. The Bucs went all in on the Pelicans’ acquisition of Jrue Holiday, and he became the point guard they were counting on to replace Eric Bledsoe. They also added P.J. Tucker to the trade deadline to give them even more versatility. And even though the Bucs have a worse playoff record than last year, they believe they’re more ready than ever thanks to reigning MVP Giannis Antitokounmpo.

Biggest problem heading into the
playoffs. Will all the changes work? The last two playoffs have not been good for Budenholzer, notably he could not keep up with the adjustments of Toronto’s Nick Nurse and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra during last season’s playoffs. Budenholzer deliberately experimented more this season, and it paid off. But until those adjustments are pressured by teams like the Nets and 76ers in the playoffs, it’s hard to say if they will prevail. And can Antitokounmpo be the best player on the field in every series? He didn’t play against Toronto or Miami last season. He needs to be the best he can be for the Bucs to be on top.

The match to watch in the first round: Giannis vs. Miami’s
defense In the second round last season, as Miami quickly dismantled Milwaukee, the Heat managed to disrupt Antitokounmpo, sending him into one wall of defenders after another, until the MVP sprained his ankle and missed the end of the series. There is no better test of the changes the Bucks have made this season in preparation for the playoffs than against the same Heat defense.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion. Brooklyn and Philadelphia should win the finals, but the Bucks are more capable than ever.

Fan attendance
The Bucks are entitled to 50% of the capacity of Fiserv Forum.

— Tim Bontemps

A statistic to consider
The Bucks (120.1 points per game average) are the first team to average at least 120 points per game in a season since 1984-85, when the Nuggets did it. That season, 22 teams averaged 120 points per game; four of them won the title (1972 Lakers, 1967 76ers, 1960 and 1962 Celtics). -José De Leon

4. New York Knicks
2020-21 Record: 41-31
BPI coefficients vs. ATL: 45%
Vegas Title Odds : +8000

After a year of coach changes, public drama and poor results, the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era. They hired Leon Rose as the new manager of the team and appointed Tom Thibodeau as the new head coach. The Knicks entered the postseason thanks to the play of Julius Randle, who became a true star this season and participated in the All-Star for the first time. The 26-year-old leads New York in points, assists and usage. He’s also on the sidelines of key rotation players like R.J. Barrett, Derrick Rose and scorer Reggie Bullock.

Biggest problem going into the playoffs
The lack of experience in the postseason. The Knicks have played a total of 16 games in the playoffs: Nerlens Noel has played in 12 games in the postseason, while Reggie Bullock has played in four. Randle, who led them in the regular season, will play in his first postseason. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Knicks perform exceptionally well in crucial games at the end of the regular season, holding a lead since the 9th round. April 9-2 in games where clutch counts. That’s the second-best performance in the NBA during that time. But as teams get deeper into the playoffs, superstar talent and experience get the upper hand.

Games to watch in the first round: Randle against the greats and Tibs’ plan for TrayThere are two matches worth watching: Randle against Clint Capela and John Collins; and Thibodeau against Tre Young. Randle has been a force against the Hawks this season, scoring 40 points, 44 points and 28 points in each of the three games. (The Knicks won all three). Capela and Collins will have to keep him under control. Thibodeau, on the other hand, seems to have devised plans to defeat the Hawks, even without Young’s shooting skills. Young shot 36.2 percent against the Knicks in the regular season. That’s the second lowest score against a team he’s played against at least three times.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
He’s going to make it to the second round. The Knicks are 3-0 in Atlanta heading into their first round game this season, but a second round series against an experienced 76ers team could prove to be an insurmountable hurdle.

Fan Attendance
The Knicks may use 72% of the capacity of Madison Square Garden Stadium.

-Malika Andrews

A statistic to keep an eye on
Under Thibodeau, the Knicks return to the postseason defensively. New York has held opponents under 100 points in 24 games this season and leads the NBA in scoring with 104.7 points per game. The last time the Knicks led the NBA in scoring was in the 2000-01 season, when the team won 48 games – and when Thibodeau was an assistant coach on the team. -Jason Joseph.

5. Atlanta Hawks
2020-21 Record: 41-31
BPI vs. NY coefficients : 55%
Vegas Title Odds : +5000

It feels like two different seasons for the Hawks, who went from 14-20 in the postseason in the East after coach Lloyd Pierce was fired, but went from 27-11 to fifth under interim coach Nate McMillan. An in form Bogdan Bogdanovic played an important role in this break. Since the change of coach, he is averaging 18.0 points per game and has turned the absence of Atlanta’s starting point guard Tra Young, who was the team’s biggest problem, into an unexpected strength as the Hawks return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The biggest problem heading into the playoffs is
inexperience in the playoffs. Of Atlanta’s top five scorers, only center Clint Capela has ever made the playoffs. ESPN’s Zach Lowe told the story of a meeting with Hawks guard Kevin Wetter at a Philadelphia hotel during the 2019 playoffs, when Pierce brought Wetter along to watch his former team and get a glimpse of postseason basketball. Watching from the stands is no substitute for playing, and playoff experience has predictive value for a team’s success. Atlanta’s stars may have a hard time adapting to different defensive schemes than in the regular season.

play

1:25

Tra Young talks about the Hawks’ win over the Wizards and what it meant to help Atlanta get to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The match to watch in the first round: Battle of the
second teams With Bogdanovic playing most of the minutes that Young doesn’t, Atlanta has been surprisingly good lately, even without their star. Since halftime, the Hawks have scored 3.9 points per 100 possessions when Bogdanovic played and Young did not. It will be difficult for them to maintain this pace against a New York bench that ranks second in points scored by reserves after halftime thanks to Derrick Rose’s 14.8 PPG per minute of play.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
He’s going to make it to the second round. There’s no reason to think the Hawks can’t win a first-round game against the similarly inexperienced Knicks, but going up against one of the top three players in the East is a tougher task.

Fan Participation
The Hawks may use 45% of the capacity of the State Farm Arena.

— Kevin Pelton.

Young is the first player in NBA history to play multiple seasons before his 23rd birthday. He has averaged 25 points and nine assists per game since his 90th birthday. Oscar Robertson (1960-61) is the only other player to achieve such a season before the age of 23. John Collins and Clint Capela have benefited the most from Young’s assists this season. Young has assisted on 267 goals by Collins and Capela this season; the only player with more assists to two teammates is Golden State’s Draymond Green (290 to Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins combined). -José De Leon

6. Miami Heat
Record 2020-21: 40-32
BPI vs MIL odds : 45%
Vegas Title Odds : +4000

The bubble hangover was real. After a brief hiatus after reaching the Finals, the Heat struggled with a mix of injuries, inconsistency and COVID-19 protocols at various points in the season. By the end of the season, Miami had found its rhythm and started to get into shape right before the playoffs. Just like last year on the bubble, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo set the tone. Miami is relying on this duo again.

Miami’s biggest concern entering the
playoffs was to return to the magic of the bubble last fall with the push of veteran guard Goran Dragic and young sharpshooters Tyler Erro and Duncan Robinson. Erro missed several weeks this season with a foot injury before recovering for the playoffs and has struggled at times to find his shot, evidenced by a cold April in which he hit just 35.5 percent from the field in 14 games.

play

1:25

Kendrick Perkins thinks the Heat, like last season, will be a strong contender in the East.

The match to watch in the first round: The new PG, who is expected to team up with Bucs
quarterback Jrue Holiday, poses a significant challenge for Miami, who did not face the Heat in the playoffs last season. It will be interesting to see how much Holiday will have to contend with Heaths star Jimmy Butler, and how much of the attack Holiday can deliver with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Middleton. Holiday, averaging 19 points, 7.3 assists and 4 rebounds in three regular season games against the Heat, was brought to Milwaukee to make up the difference in the postseason. Now he has a chance.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
He’s going to make it to the second round. The Heat made it to the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, but the Nets – Miami’s likely opponent in the second round – have reached another level this season. Not to mention that the Bucks would be overjoyed to beat a Heat team that snatched the title from Milwaukee last season.

The audience for
The Heat can be 15% of the capacity of AmericanAirlines Arena.

— Nick Friedell.

One statistic to keep an eye on
Heat are a much better team with Jimmy Butler in the lineup. With him, they recorded 33 wins and 19 losses and held opponents to 106.1 points per game, second best in the NBA this season. Without him, they went 7-13 and scored 113.0 points per game, 20th in the league. -José De Leon

7. Boston Celtics
2020-21 Record: 36-36
BPI quota vs : 20%
Title Chances Vegas : +9000

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After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four years, the Celtics squad has fallen far below that level this season. Two positives: the all-star play of Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown. But Brown is out for the season after undergoing wrist surgery last week. Even before Brown left the game, the Celtics inspired little confidence in their ability to return to that elite level. The loss of Gordon Hayward, who left for Charlotte as a free agent, was felt all season, and the team’s backcourt, largely made up of young players drafted in recent years, failed to produce consistent results. As a result, the Celtics have hovered in the middle of the playoff standings in the East all season, but a win over the Wizards in their first playoff game put them in a position to meet the Nets in the first round.

The match to watch in the first round: Tatum-Durant Duel
This series has its stars, but Tatum continues to develop into a top player. He scored 50 points in Tuesday night’s win over the Wizards, helping the Celtics move into seventh place. He’ll have to take Durant step-by-step if the Celtics want to have any chance against an incredibly talented Nets team.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
Meat from the first round. The Celtics’ hopes for a competitive series in the first round ended after Brown’s injury ended the season. Now it’s just a matter of avoiding the ignominy of a sweep against the mighty Nets.

The attendance of
Celtics fans reached 12% of TD Garden’s capacity.

— Tim Bontemps

One statistic to keep an eye on
Boston has had its share of injuries this season and will be without Jaylen Brown in the postseason. The bulk of the scoring effort now lies with Jason Tatum and Kemba Walker. The duo scored 116.8 points, the highest of any player who spent at least 500 minutes on the field together. -Jason Joseph.

8. Washington Wizards
2020-21 Record: 34-38
BPI vs. PHI coefficients: 9%
Title Chances Vegas : +30000

After a bold midseason acquisition of Russell Westbrook, the Wizards’ season hasn’t started as planned. Westbrook has been dealing with recurring injuries. Their 3-point shooters did nothing. They had to take almost two weeks off due to COVID-19 issues on the team. It reached a fairly dramatic point midway through the season, but after Westbrook suddenly made triple-double history and Bradley Beal made scoring history, the Wizards found their identity in time. They need to win their game against the Pacers because eighth place is on the line.

The match to watch in the first round: Westbrook vs. Embiid
This playoff series naturally has the usual excitement, intensity and energy, but add in the Westbrook-Embiid fuel element and you have a ticking time bomb. Their rivalry has always been an East-West rivalry, where two games were enough to get tempers flaring, but now it’s a seven-game series with more at stake. There’s history in between, so get ready for some fireworks.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
An early challenge for the challenger. The Wizards are having some wild games and seem to be able to raise their game against top teams. Westbrook never wavers, and something dramatic will happen in every series with him.

Fan Attendance
The Wizards are allowed to use 10% of the capacity of the Capital One Arena.

— Royce Young.

The Wizards’
offense relies on isolation and is led by a superstar team of Westbrook and Beal. Washington had the most isolations on the team this season with 1,731 according to Second Spectrum, with Westbrook and Beal combining for 1,327 (78%). The only teams that have scored more points in isolation this season are the Nets, Bucks and Knicks. -Jason Joseph.

Excluded

Indiana Pacers
2020-21 Record: 34-38

The Pacers lost 142-115 to the Wizards in the first round of the qualifying tournament.

 

Charlotte Hornets
2020-21 Record: 33-39

The Hornets lost 144-117 to the Pacers in the first round of the qualifying tournament.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Utah Jazz
Balance Sheet 2020-21: 52-20
BPI quota v. MEM : 90%
Vegas Title Ratings: +700

Follow all the action in the postseason on ESPN, ABC and the ESPN app.

Sunday, May 30
– Knicks – Hawks, 1 p.m. ET on ABC
– Suns – Lakers, 3:30 p.m. AND to ABC

The Jazz had the best record in the NBA for most of the season and also had the longest winning streak in the league (11 games) and two wins from nine games which was the second longest of the season. The Jazz have won 39 games by as many as 10 points. They led the league in net rating (+9.0) with three points per 100 possessions and were the only team to rank in the top five in both offensive (116.5) and defensive (107.5) rating. All-star center Rudy Gobert led the league in total plus-minus (+728) with nearly 200 points, and Utah had the top four players in that measure.

Biggest problem heading into the
-Playoffs Will the Jazz be able to play their favorite offensive style in the playoffs? Utah leads the league in three-pointers (16.7 per game) and attempts (43.0), but makes the fewest mid-range shots (6.2). The Jazz generate quality shots with rebounds and ball movement, but how will that work against a good playoff defense? When the Jazz lose their rhythm, they rely too much on their star Donovan Mitchell, who missed the final month of the regular season with an ankle problem, to create shooting opportunities. Utah was 1-6 this season when Mitchell scored over 25 goals.

play

5:02

Jordan Clarkson discusses the factors that make his form with the Jazz a contender for NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The match to watch in the first round: Rudy Gobert vs. Jonas Valanciunas
You could argue that the fact that the Grizzlies lean so heavily on the traditional big man works to Gobert’s advantage, as he isn’t pulled to the perimeter as often due to the three-point threat, allowing the future three-time Defensive Player of the Year to patrol the lane and protect the rim. But Valanciunas, 6-foot-9 and 90 pounds, poses a physical challenge, especially in attack. Gobert and Valanciunas are third in the league with 49 double-doubles this season.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion. There are skeptics, especially since the Jazz of this era haven’t gotten very far in the postseason, but Utah should be considered a legitimate contender for a championship in a wide-open field.

Fan Support
Vivint Arena Jazz Stadium has an allowable capacity of 71%.

— Tim McMahon.

A statistic to keep an eye on
The Jazz set the NBA record for three-pointers per game with 16.7, but they also missed the least in the league with 10.9 three-pointers per game. They became the second team in NBA history to make the most three-pointers and allow the fewest in a single season, following the Pacers from 1999-2000. The Indiana team (coached by Larry Bird) finished first in the East and qualified for the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Lakers in six games. -Vincent Johnson.

2. Phoenix Suns
2020-21 Record: 51-21
BPI vs LAL Quota: 43%
Vegas Title odds : +1400

Last season, the Suns were on the verge of revenge after an inspiring 8-0 run, despite missing the playoffs. Give me Chris Paul. Paul’s acquisition deal, which sent four players to Oklahoma City and the first pick in 2022, took the Suns out of the playoff race and into second place in the league. Paul played at the level of any player in the NBA. And the Suns have been relatively healthy all season: Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges have missed just six games in total.

Biggest problem heading into the
-The playoffs Will inexperience be a factor in the playoffs? Paul and Jay Crowder were there, but how will the Suns’ lack of playoff experience affect the other players? In the time it took the Suns to finish first. Chased from the spot, they lost to Atlanta, the Lakers and Golden State (and almost lost to Portland). If they can do that and get back to the team they were in February and April, when they played 35-10, they will do well.

The match to watch in the first round: LA’s dynamic duo against the Suns’
defense After the way LeBron James handled himself in the game against the Warriors, the Suns will have a tough time with King and Brow. Anthony Davis missed Phoenix’s first two games of the season, but has had a big game in the last 9. May had his best game of the season, with a game-high 42 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals. Phoenix had no answer for him. If Davis continues to play at the same level and James continues to gain ground, Phoenix could be in for a long series of games.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
Reach the NBA Finals. The west really is the wild west right now: Phoenix wasn’t lucky with the draw for the first round – the defending champion Lakers are coming to town – but the Suns have everything they need to move on and turn their first playoff appearance since 2010 into their first Finals since 1993.

Fan attendance
The Phoenix Suns arena may be 17% full.

— Andrew Lopez

A statistic to keep an eye on for the
Suns has traditionally been effective in an often overlooked area of the field: the midfield. Led by Paul (first in the league in average shots) and Booker (fourth in the league), Phoenix shot 47.4 percent from that area in the regular season, the highest percentage of any team in the last 20 seasons. -Vincent Johnson.

3. Denver Nuggets
2020-21 Record: 47-25
BPI vs. POR coefficients : 49%
Vegas Title Opportunities : +3500

After a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets opened the season at 6-7. But Nikola Jokic started the season off like a sunshine, kicking off an MVP campaign with four triple-doubles in his first six games. The Nuggets followed their leader and looked like a title contender at the deadline after trading Aaron Gordon to the Orlando Magic. And despite the fact that point guard Jamal Murray tore his ACL and Monte Morris and Will Barton are out for an extended period of time, the Nuggets enter the playoffs as the third seed.

Biggest problem for the
playoffs: Is Jokic getting enough help? Reminder: Murray averaged 31.6 points last season and scored 50 points twice in a sensational first-round game against Utah. Michael Porter Jr. not only needs to be a legitimate second round pick, but he also needs to get the ball back and defend at an elite level for his second postseason. The Nuggets need Barton to help them score points.

The match to watch in the first round: Jokic vs Portland, Part II
The last time these two clubs met in the playoffs, it took the Blazers seven games – including a historic 140-137 Game 3 in four overtimes – to beat the Nuggets in the second round of 2019. Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists in the series, second all-time. He now comes into this game with more experience and as an MVP candidate. Even if the Nuggets don’t have Murray, they have Porter ready to make the playoffs. The Nuggets need Barton back, but they’ve been dealing with injuries all season.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
Conference finalist. The way Jokic is playing this season could lead the Nuggets to the Conference Finals, depending on the matchup. But without Murray, who shined in the playoffs last season, the Nuggets don’t seem to have the strength to make it to the Finals.

The crowd for the
Nuggets could be 40% of Ball Arena’s capacity.

— Om Yongmisuk

A statistic worth looking at:
Jokic is averaging 1.30 points per possession from the basket this season. That’s the best value for a player over a season since Second Spectrum began tracking players (300 rebounds minimum) in 2013-14. Double joker if you dare, but he’s still ahead of the curve and increases his efficiency by almost 20% when he sees a double team (1.54). That’s the best mark for a player in a season – by far – since 2013-14 (minimum 100 rebounds in double-doubles). -Vincent Johnson.

4. LA Clippers
2020-21 Balance: 47-25
BPI reports vs. DAL: 68%
Vegas Title Odds : +500

The Clippers started the season saying they were motivated by a second-round loss. Paul George came in with the full intention of playing a winning season. Kawhi Leonard wanted to be more of a leader. New coach Tyronn Lue is focused on learning from the mistakes the Clippers made last season. At their peak, they were making three-point shots at a historic rate, passing was fantastic, and Leonard and George were a dominant duo. But again, injuries have disrupted their chemistry, leading to inconsistency and as many problems as last season.

The biggest concern going into the playoffs is that the
Clippers are once again wondering if they played enough in the playoffs, as injuries have kept them from their full strength for much of the season. Maybe even worse: The Clippers were not always focused and seemed uninterested for several periods. (They lost to Dallas by 51 points this season.) Do they have enough leaders? Do they have a permanent third option to relieve Leonard and George? Will their defense be able to live up to the high expectations? And won’t their strong offense stall midway through the fourth quarter? Right now, the Clippers have far more than one problem.

The match to watch in the first round: Clippers defense against Luka Doncic
For the second year in a row, the Clippers and Mavericks face each other in the postseason, and there have been some exciting moments between these teams, particularly between Marcus Morris and Doncic. Although they lost the series 2-1, the Clippers will be full of confidence after beating Dallas in six games in the first round last year. But the Clippers’ defense had to deal with the more experienced Doncic, who accounted for 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists in the first round and unloaded a terrific off-balance shot in Game 4 in overtime. Liu and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Dan Craig have a week to develop a game plan for Doncic’s defense.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion. Despite their problems, the Clippers have all the ingredients for a title: a pair of stars, a group of veterans, a coach and championship experience. When triggered, no one shoots 3-pointers better than the entire team.

Fan Attendance
The Clippers are allowed 11% of capacity in Staples Center.

— Om Yongmisuk

A statistic to keep an eye on
: Leonard and George are healthy heading into the playoffs, and that combination dominated their combined 43 regular season games. The All-Star duo ranked first in offensive rating (122.5) and shot percentage (64%) and second in net rating (+17.6) among all two-point teams that played at least 1,000 minutes. -Vincent Johnson.

5. Dallas Mavericks
2020-21 Record: 42-30
BPI coefficients vs: 32%
Vegas Title odds : +5000

The Mavericks, hit hard by COVID-19 early in the season, were five games under .500 in early February. Since then, Dallas ranks fifth in the NBA in winning percentage (.673) and is in the middle of the Western playoff standings. Luka Doncic is delivering MVP-worthy performances and, along with Damian Lillard, is the only player in the league’s top 10 in points (27.7 points per game) and assists (8.6). Role players Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith have become key parts of the Mavs’ main roster. Dallas helped the Mavs deal with the frequent absence of Kristaps Porzingis due to injury.

Biggest problem on the way to the playoffs
Should Doncic carry too much of a burden? Porzingis showed his potential, but injuries and inconsistency kept him from proving he can be a second star on a team that is in the race. With a sore knee distracting him lately, the Mavs can hardly count on him to make the playoffs. Dallas needs Tim Hardaway Jr, who was thought to have been cut by the Knicks after the Porzingis trade, to continue his brilliant late-season rise.

The match to watch in the first round: Kristaps Porzingis vs.
Clippers center The biggest question with the Mavericks – in the short and long term – is whether Porzingis can become the elite second star Dallas needs to become a real championship threat. He played well in last year’s lockout-shortened first postseason, averaging 23.7 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the field in three games against the Clippers, before a meniscus injury sidelined him for the rest of the series. Los Angeles can force Porzingis to play perimeter defense with Serge Ibaka or a small lineup with Marcus Morris as the center.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
He’s going to make it to the second round. Doncic makes the Mavs dangerous in every game, but any series they win in the West would be sensational. Dallas could surprise in the first round, thanks to a healthy Doncic. One second? Don’t count on it.

Fan Attendance
American Airlines Center Mavericks is at 47% capacity.

— Tim McMahon.

A statistic to keep an eye on
Doncic has built a strong partnership with Porzingis, especially in rebounding. According to Second Spectrum, the Mavericks averaged 1.18 points per direct rebound when Doncic was the shooter and Porzingis was the rebounder. It is the most efficient combination in the league among duos with 300 rebounds. — Matt Williams.

6. Portland Trail Blazers
2020-21 Record: 42-30
BPI reports vs. DEN: 51%
Vegas Title Opportunities : +5000

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Blazers, who are up and down in the West and have traditionally struggled with injuries. They gave up Yusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum for a few months and put the burden on Damian Lillard, who has done an excellent job. Until he hit a wall and the Blazers went down. But Portland did it late and recaptured its place in the West.

The biggest problem heading into the playoffs is the
bench. The Blazers have adjusted their lineup with an emphasis on wing defense, but they are still looking for their top seven to eight players. Their bench was unstable, and Enes Kanter and Carmelo Anthony’s minutes predictably coincided with defensive lapses. But they also need to fill in the minutes without Lillard offensively. Portland has struggled all season to find a consistent rotation, and now that they make the playoffs, coach Terry Stotts will have to pick his optimal lineup at random.

The match to watch in the first round: Damian Lillard vs. Aaron Gordon
These teams know each other well, as two years ago they played an epic seven game series. It’s going to be a little different this time around, with a few new faces and an injured man who could play a crucial role for Denver: Jamal Murray. Gordon strengthens Denver’s defensive scheme by providing a more versatile and athletic defender to extend the point selection to Lillard. The Blazers’ success in the postseason is due in large part to the way Lillard can stretch and bend defenses with his range. The Nuggets have a new weapon that can counteract that.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
He’s going to make it to the second round. The Blazers may not be the favorites to get out of the first round, but Lillard and his teammates aren’t going away that easily. The playoffs represent 48 minutes of playing time, and as long as Lillard is healthy, the Blazers are dangerous. A win in the first round, in one of the most open playoffs in recent years, is very possible.

The number of fans in Moda Center
for the Trail Blazers should not exceed 10% of capacity.

— Royce Young.

A statistic to keep an eye on
The Trail Blazers’ defense finished the season ranked 29th in defensive rating, becoming the third team to make the playoffs after finishing in the bottom two in the last 25 seasons. (The others are the 2017-18 Cavaliers and 2002-03 Bucks.) But Portland finished the season from 27th place. Avril finished 12th. According to Second Spectrum, the Blazers held their opponents to just 1.06 points per possession in transition. -Vincent Johnson.

7. Los Angeles Lakers
2020-21 Record: 42-30
BPI vs PHX Coefficients : 57%
Vegas Title Opportunities : +450

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The Lakers had just 71 days of the offseason to enjoy their 2020 NBA championship before the league entered a shortened 72-game season. Despite the short rest, LeBron James shot early in his 18th game. This season, Los Angeles led the Western Conference in the first half of the season and James was named MVP. Then the season went the wrong way. Anthony Davis has a sprained calf and Achilles tendon in his right leg, which will keep him out of action for nine weeks. James forced Solomon Hill to jump on his right foot, resulting in a sprained ankle that kept him sidelined for six weeks. Talks about a contract extension between the team and Dennis Schroder stalled, and Los Angeles tried to trade him for Kyle Lowry. After the deal fell through, Schroder was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols at the worst possible time as the Lakers fought to make the playoffs. LeBron and his teammates needed only one playoff game to meet Phoenix in the first round.

Biggest problem heading into the
playoffs Aside from the obvious potential problems with James or Davis’ worsening injuries, the Lakers’ three-point player has been unreliable this season. Los Angeles ranks 25th in shooting three-pointers per game and 21st in team three-point percentage, and is downright insignificant when missing shots: 12-11 when making fewer than 10 three-pointers. When a team has a rhythm of play, they do much better 30-19 when they make 10 or more 3-point shots. In other words: Guys like Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews and Ben McLemore could be a real opponent for the vulnerable defending champions.

The match to watch in the first round: Dennis Schroder vs Chris Paul
The former Thunder teammates who led OKC to a win in the nacompetition last season now face each other. Paul has had a season where he was MVP, while Schroder just spent 10 days in the league’s health and safety protocol. Schroder looked a little rusty in the playoff game, shooting 3-for-14 from the field and scoring less than 20 points in 30 minutes of play.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
NBA champion, but that title comes with a serious caveat. You can never rule out LeBron James’ team: the last nine times he stood in the postseason, his team reached the NBA Finals. On the other hand, he’s never missed as many games in a season as he did this year, and at 36 years old, he can’t keep his team together forever.

Fan attendance
Lakers fans may take 11% of Staples Center capacity.

— Dave McMenamin

A statistic to keep an eye on: The
Lakers may be the most dangerous 7th place team since the start of the 1984 draft. Historically, 7th and 8th seeds don’t do well in the playoffs. Since 1984, only the Knicks (1998-99) and the Supersonics (1986-87) have reached the conference finals, and only New York reached the finals in a season shortened by a lockout. If James and Davis are healthy, the Lakers could have the same success; they’re 19-8 with both stars in the lineup. — Matt Williams.

8. Memphis Grizzlies
2020-21 Record: 38-34
BPI coefficients vs. UTAH: 10%
Vegas Title Opportunities : +30000

The Grizzlies have improved from last season, although cornerback Jaren Jackson Jr. must remain sidelined until late April to recover from meniscus surgery. For Memphis, the spotlight is always on sophomore point guard Ja Morant, a rising star with a flair for the dramatic. However, you could argue that center Jonas Valanciunas was the Grizzlies’ MVP during the regular season. He averaged 17.1 points per game and was third in the league in rebounds (12.5) and double-doubles (49). The Grizzlies defeated the Spurs and Warriors in the first playoff game to secure the eighth seed in the West.

The biggest problem going into the
playoffs is that Memphis, a team that many thought was at the beginning of a long rebuilding process, just isn’t ready to compete with the league’s elite. The Grizzlies are 15-23 against teams with a .500 or better record. They went 2-10 against the top four teams in the West.

The match to watch in the first round: Dillon Brooks vs Donovan Mitchell
Brooks is not exactly the guy you want to see rusting back after a month and a half off. The Grizzlies’ guard is looking to build a reputation as one of the best fullbacks in the league. Brooks is a fierce competitor who will fight for screens and will force Mitchell, who missed the last 16 regular season games with a sprained ankle, to fight for every inch of space. Mitchell, however, pulled out the longest in both regular season encounters. In the Jazz’s two wins, he averaged 35 points with 60 percent shooting.

Their ceiling in the playoffs….
Meat from the first round. The Grizzlies reached the first round with an impressive win in overtime in San Francisco, but it will be an extremely difficult task to challenge the best in the NBA.

The crowd for the
Grizzlies could be 20% of FedExForum Stadium’s capacity.

— Tim McMahon.

A statistic to keep an eye on
The Grizzlies have dominated near the basket this season, leading the NBA in points in the paint per game and points per second chance per game. They are the fourth team in the last 25 seasons to lead the league in both statistics in one season. The last team to do so was the Nuggets in 2012-13, who finished third in the playoffs that season. — Matt Williams.

Excluded

Golden State Warriors
Record 2020-21: 39-33

The Warriors lost 117-112 to the Grizzlies in the second round of the qualifying tournament.

San Antonio Spurs
2020-21 Record: 33-39

The Spurs lost 100-96 to the Grizzlies in the first round of the qualifying tournament.

Frequently Asked Questions

What teams are in the NBA Playoffs 2021?

The NBA season is nearing its end and the playoffs are upon us. With just 16 teams left in the league, most of them will join the postseason in the first round. The top eight teams from the Western Conference will join the top four from the Eastern Conference in the first round, which will be played on May 17-18. The two winners will play the winners from the second round in a best-of-seven series for the NBA Championship. At the end of June, the NBA regular season is over, and that means it’s time for the playoffs and the NBA Finals. There is no such thing as a sure bet in sports, but in the NBA, teams with the best records have an edge in the postseason, and that’s why big names like the Golden State Warriors, the Toronto Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics are all in the Finals.

Has any team went 16 0 in NBA playoffs?

The NBA playoffs are underway, and the four contenders for the best team in the league are the Celtics, Rockets, Warriors and Bucks. Before we get into the matchups, here are a few things you need to know about the 16 teams in the playoffs. The Golden State Warriors have been the best team in the NBA this year, as they’ve won the last two NBA Championships. Their rivals, the Houston Rockets, are in fourth place, but they’re just a game behind the Warriors. Also, the Philadelphia 76ers, who were recently described by a journalist as “the worst team in sports”, are actually in fourth place. Furthermore, the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks are both just a game behind the Warriors, while the Boston Celtics have paid off a large part of their debt and are in sixth place…

How are NBA teams seeded in playoffs?

The NBA playoffs have a really unique format compared to other sports. Instead of having the four best teams in each conference fight it out in single elimination, the top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs, play a best-of-7 series against the other teams in their conference, and the winners of the series then play the best-of-7 series against the winners of the other conference to determine who gets to go to the NBA Finals. The NBA regular season is now in the books, and the playoff brackets have been set. The 16 teams that made the cut are:

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