NBA Western Conference Odds 4/12/19, Warriors favored to win again

Who will be the new king in the East?

The East is wide open.

The NBA regular season has come to a close and now it's time for everyone's favorite time of the year: the playoffs. But James left the Cavaliers and signed a four-year, $153.3 million with the Lakers in July.

The drama, which many on the team have said is actually less than what they dealt with last season, led to long stretches in which the Warriors seemed pedestrian. The Nuggets have never won the conference title in franchise history.

This season they are 3-1 vs.

According to the NBA's MVP ladder of week 25, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was on top of the chart, and James Harden of the Houston Rockets was second. When he's healthy, there's no denying that the Sixers' big man is one of the most dominant at his position. Vucevic averaged 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds in an All-Star season as the centerpiece of the Magic's turnaround.

Sometime in the next couple of months, the 4,000th playoff game in National Basketball Association history will be played. Griffin, who is nursing a sore knee, will have a tall order going up against Giannis and the Bucks' stingy defense.

The Jazz have an epic first-round matchup against the Rockets on deck, and Mitchell will get another crack at Houston after struggling against them previous year in the second round of the playoffs. Although the team finished No. 24 in the league in points per game, the Magic come into the playoffs averaging a noteworthy 117.6 points over their last 11 games while hitting the team total over in 10. In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics will fight with the Milwaukee Bucks for the opportunity to knock the Warriors off their throne.

Regular-season play is fun to watch, but it's the pressure-filled moments of the postseason that really count.

We're finally here. Playoff time. To give credit where credit is due, the Clippers deserve to be commended for making the playoffs despite trading away Tobias Harris and being the far less popular LA-based team. Griffin missed 4 of the final 7 games of the regular season.

Hidden storyline: Leonard's future is very much up in the air as he can opt out of his contract this summer. With All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons already in place along with JJ Redick, they built what may be not only the strongest starting five in the East but also one of the best in the National Basketball Association.

Mike Budenholzer will likely deploy Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton a lot more in the postseason than he did in the regular season and the undersized Pistons guards might have trouble staying in front of those two guys. Brooklyn has guard Caris LeVert seemingly getting back to form at the ideal time, while center Jarrett Allen has the athleticism to possibly limit Joel Embiid inside.

A well-functioning team led by arguably the best two-way player in the world in Kawhi Leonard. Can't wait to watch how this one plays out. He has been inconsistent during his return from a horrific leg injury that cost him nearly all of 2017-18.

Pascal Siakam and D'Angelo are in a two-man race for Most Improved Player. Meanwhile, Bojan Bogdanovic averaged 18 points per game and knocked down 42.5 percent of his 3-pointers in 2018-19.

That is what the sportsbooks are predicting, with the Clippers listed as 55/1 underdogs to win the best-of-seven series at DraftKings Sportsbook ... or to put it another way, the Warriors being listed as -20000 (200/1) to advance to the second round. The combination of Boston's inconsistency and the Pacers effort will push this series to at least six games.

Hidden storyline: The Pacers lost star guard Victor Oladipo to a leg injury in late January and have since had to rely on Bogdanovic as well as Domantas Sabonis on the offensive end. Assume the biggest stars on both sides will be stars.

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