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NBA playoff primer: Here's some things to know

14 April 2018

But before we get to the start of those games, we wanted to look back on the 2017-18 campaign as a whole (and peek into the crystal ball to tell us what they expect to see during the NBA Playoffs).

At perhaps no other time in the league's history have so many teams gone into the postseason with a real shot at hoisting the trophy at the end of this two-month grind.

First place in the eastern conference Toronto Raptors will face Washington Wizards who finished the season eight, the first game of the series at Toronto.

For the Timberwolves, Wednesday was a moment in itself. After the Minnesota Timberwolves escaped a late push by the Denver Nuggets, that forced overtime, the 16-team field was set.

Benches clear at Fenway Park after hard slide from Yankees' Tyler Austin
Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez infamously fought during the 2003 AL Championship Series. Thus ensued the following scenes. "I think he was going in hard, and it was a bunt", Holt said after the game, via ESPN .

Anthony Davis has already accomplished one truly remarkable feat this season, as he kept the New Orleans Pelicans in playoff contention even after fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was sidelined by an injury.

Second-placed Boston Celtics will take on seventh-placed Milwaukee Bucks without star player Kyrie Irving, the first game of the series at Boston. Milwaukee has by far the best player in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who can take control of the series. Also rounding out the conference are likely Most Improved Player Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers, who shocked everyone by locking up the fifth seed despite trading away Paul George this summer.

"The idea that there is a super-team out there in the Golden State Warriors and a half-dozen franchises trying to dethrone them, creates a narrative that makes people want to watch", Marc Ganis, president of the marketing firm Sportscorp, told The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the National Basketball Association season.

Looking a little deeper over that same 40-year span, and you'll find only five teams lower than a No. 3 seed that lost in the finals. The 87-game schedule marks the most games ESPN has ever aired during the regular season.

British Airways owner IAG weighs takeover offer for Norwegian Air
With LEVEL's launch IAG now has five main airline brands, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. Norwegian shares took off on the Oslo Stock Exchange after the announcement, rising 20.8%.

ROCKETS' TOUGH ROAD - Houston posted the league's best record (65-17), and it's hard to bet against a team that has James Harden. But if anyone is capable of creating a game plan to upset the ailing defending champions, it's San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Portland Trail Blazers (-210) vs.

Maybe we'll get a Cavaliers-Warriors final for the fourth year in a row. Portland, which had the league's ninth-best defensive rating this season, will have all it can handle with the way Pelicans star Anthony Davis has been playing (a league-leading 30.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game since DeMarcus Cousins' season-ending Achilles injury January 26). However, if this past regular season has proven anything, it's that the Warriors and Cavaliers matchup we've grown accustomed to isn't going to last much longer. Utah certainly needs him to be.

Over 250 dead in Alegria plane crash
A month later, a military helicopter crashed in the province of Naama, 700 km southwest of Algiers, leaving one army troop dead. The defence ministry expressed condolences to families of the victims, and government officials observed a minute silence.

NBA playoff primer: Here's some things to know