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Checkout full schedule for National Basketball Association playoff

Checkout full schedule for National Basketball Association playoff

They open against the Timberwolves, back in the postseason for the first time since 2004 after ending what was the NBA's longest active playoff drought.

"We've got a chance", said LeBron James, who will be seeking his eighth straight trip to the finals.

It's really, really, really hard to find something that LeBron James hasn't done in his career. The 16 teams in these playoffs combined to win 351 games on the road in the regular season, or 54 percent.

No. 2 Warriors vs. Golden State is no longer the championship lock it appeared to be at the start of the season.

The Spurs have a mountain to climb as they take on Golden State as +850 series underdogs.

No. 3: Are the Raptors ready?

No. 4: Sunny in Philadelphia?

It might sound far-fetch to some, but the Sixers have two of the most dominant young players in the National Basketball Association in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

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No. 3 76ers vs. Although the Thunder may have more "stars" on their roster, the Jazz are fielding a scorching-hot team with rookie Donovan Mitchell leading the way, winning 17 of their last 21 games to take the No. 5 seed. At this point, it sounds like it is up to Leonard to determine when he comes back, if he will at all this postseason.

The Raptors played the Cavs three-times this season and despite holding a 1-2 record; they blew them out in their first meeting and only lost by a cumulative nine points in the other two games. The Rockets wrap up opening weekend against No. 8 Minnesota. The Rockets went 4-0 against the Timberwolves in the regular season, averaging 122 points per game.

To give us a hand, we had a chat with our pals over at The Starters (Leigh Ellis, Trey Kerby, J.E. Skeets, and Tas Melas) the day after the season ended when they were fresh off their end-of-season awards show, The Starties, and primed for the playoffs (which they'll cover every weeknight on NBA TV). Utah, meanwhile, might be one of the league's toughest outs. Portland and Utah will play for the No. 3 seed in the West, in one of the few cut-and-dry matchups. No. 6 New Orleans: With Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in its backcourt, Portland has the guards to beat anyone. The answer to that question will determine this series.

Also, in a game for all the marbles, the San Antonio Spurs dropped a crucial contest to the New Orleans Pelicans, which set them up with the defending champion, Golden State Warriors. San Antonio can't be that team if Leonard isn't on the court, and there's no indication he'll be returning anytime soon. The latter will have a far bigger impact on the series.

No. 1 Rockets vs. The prize for sporting the conference's best regular-season record is a date with a Wizards team that has John Wall back in the lineup? And the Pacers indeed did rebuild, but managed to do so on the fly behind Victor Oladipo, probably the NBA's Most Improved Player. At 33, James has been as dominant as ever, and he has a way of flipping the switch to an even higher level in the playoffs.

Key Matchup: Philadelphia's Joel Embiid vs. Miami's Hassan Whiteside. Combining his Cleveland and Miami years, James' teams have won 46 of their last 51 first-round games. But the playoffs are a different animal.

Story line: The 76ers finished on a 16-game winning streak, although 13 of those wins came against non-playoff teams. The two teams were separated by just one game in the standings.