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NBA playoffs: Eastern Conference first-round matchups by the numbers

By Opta
Kawhi Leonards Toronto Raptors will meet Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs first round

New York, April 12: There will be a new team representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had played for the title in each of the last four seasons and a LeBron James-led team advanced to the championship round in eight straight campaigns.

But, James left Cleveland and inked a four-year, $153.3million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in July, opening up the door for multiple contenders.

The east is wide open as the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics all have a legitimate chance to compete for a ring.

Here is a breakdown of all the first-round east matchups, by the numbers thanks to Opta.

Bucks v Pistons

— The Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons in all four of their meetings in 2018-19. Milwaukee, however, have never won a playoff series against Detroit.

— Milwaukee tallied an NBA-best 60 victories in the regular season. That was their third-highest win total in franchise history and most since 1980-81.

— Giannis Antetokounmpo is the front-runner to take home the MVP and rightfully so. He is just the third player ever to average 27 or more points and 12 or more rebounds while shooting better than 57 per cent from the floor in a single season. Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the other two who have accomplished the feat.

Raptors v Magic

— The Raptors were clearly one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Toronto, however, split the season series with the Orlando Magic, 2-2.

— Magic center Nikola Vucevic is the 15th player in the last 25 years to average 20 or more points and 12 or more rebounds in the same season.

— The Raptors have won 50 or more games in four straight seasons. However, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

76ers v Nets

— D'Angelo Russell developed into a go-to scorer and consistent playmaker for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19. He was just one of five players in the NBA to average 21 or more points and seven or more assists in the regular season. He also made his first All-Star team.

— The Nets have relied on the three-pointer this season. They have attempted 40.1 per cent of their total shots from behind the arc, which is the fifth-highest percentage in the league.

— Brooklyn improved by 14 wins and exceeded all expectations to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

Celtics v Pacers

— Six Celtics players averaged 10 or more points this season, which is tied for the most in the NBA. Kyrie Irving led the team with 23.8 points per game, while Jayson Tatum added 15.7 points per appearance.

— Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending leg injury in late January. Bojan Bogdanovic has stepped up in his absence as he has tallied 20.9 points per game since Oladipo has been out of the line-up.

— Indiana's defense was stifling at points this season. The team allowed 104.3 points per game, the best mark in the NBA, and forced a turnover on 14.1 per cent of its defensive positions, which was second best in the league.

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Story first published: Friday, April 12, 2019, 7:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 12, 2019
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