Imagine if the National Basketball Association playoffs were a 16-team tournament in which the No. 1 seed could select its first-round opponent (from either conference), so on and so forth.
They have little time to prepare for the playoffs as the first round one game is set to take place on Saturday, April 14 at 7pm.
Despite having the top seed in the Western Conference locked up heading into the playoffs, the Houston Rockets aren't sitting around when it comes to roster maintenance. Tipping off at 3 p.m.
But, if both the Timberwolves and Thunder get the job done, then it's either a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs or Timberwolves in round one for the Warriors. The victor of that game won't necessarily finish in the 8th spot, however. Eastern Time game against No. 6 Miami at 8 p.m.
For the New Orleans Pelicans, they could finish as high as the fifth spot with a win and some help. Eastern Time on TNT, the Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Rockets went just 3-3 in April, but considering they were 28-1 from January 29-March 30, there is no doubting their abilities.
The 76ers routed Milwaukee 130-95 on Wednesday night to wrap up the No. 3 seed on the East bracket, and that meant No. 4 Cleveland will face No. 5 IN when the playoffs open this weekend.
Start with the East pairings: Lowry and the top-seeded Raptors play No. 8 Washington, No. 2 Boston faces No. 7 Milwaukee, No. 3 Philadelphia gets No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Cleveland - with LeBron James bidding for an eighth consecutive appearance in The Finals - opening against No. 5 in, a surprise team at the start of the season and one that isn't a surprise anymore.
Houston Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute will likely miss at least the first round of the playoffs after dislocating his right shoulder in a meaningless game for the Western Conference leaders. Eastern, with TNT providing the telecast.
When the playoff matchups were finally set in stone late Wednesday night, we got to start getting excited about certain series.
The defending champions will nearly certainly be without the injured Stephen Curry for the duration of the series, which will give the Thunders hope to cause a major upset, but they will need Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to provide Russell Westbrook with the kind of support they have only seldom offered in the regular season.
Optimism is at an all-time high in Houston after the Rockets swept aside everything in their path en route to winning 60 games for the first time in their history.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have endured a rollercoaster season but still managed to equal last year's record.