Western Conference first-round matchups by the numbers

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- Harden set multiple National Basketball Association records this season. It's time that his regular-season prowess is matched with an equally stellar playoff run.

The new era of foreign-born National Basketball Association players, which includes Antetokounmpo and Rookie of the Year front-runner Luka Dončić, is certainly making the game more competitive and more exciting than ever before for fans all over the world. The team is "optimistic" he'll be ready for Game 1 against Brooklyn but "it's possible" he won't be able to play, general manager Elton Brand told reporters Wednesday. The Warriors won 120-114. Los Angeles went on to miss the playoffs this season. "Playoffs don't always come around". For the last eight seasons, James went to eight straight NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With LeBron James sitting out the playoffs for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, the NBA has a problem on its hands: Which team are they going to showcase to a national audience to prevent folks from spending their weekends watching The Masters?

The Warriors and Chicago are now tied for third with six championships each. During that 11-game span, the average combined score was a shade under 240 points.

In the West, the dominant Golden State Warriors finished top without really getting out of third gear while the Denver Nuggets, who didn't even make last year's playoffs, ended up second.

It has widely been assumed that this will be Durant's last season in Golden State. It will be interesting to see which of them step up under pressure and lead their team to the NBA Finals. The others: Michael Jordan (10 times), Wilt Chamberlain (five times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Bob McAdoo and Shaquille O'Neal.

LeBron James nearly got into the club past year, coming as close as humanly possible - he scored 2,999 points for Cleveland.

Golden State are the two-time defending champions and have won three of the last four titles. Everyone has been waiting on them to flip the switch and turn into the contender they're supposed to be.

For the eighth time this season, Harden scored 50 plus points to win the game. He also became the first player ever to average 12 or more 3-point attempts over an entire season. In the previous three meetings, Orlando has averaged a tick below 113 points per game and took two of the four regular-season contests overall. In the postseason, Curry is about to become No. 1. After going toe-to-toe with James in the 2017 and 2018 playoffs, the top spot could be his with another big postseason.

Yahoo Sports NBA playoff predictions.

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Stat to know: Both teams enter the playoffs on a roll.

So far, all 16 teams are due at least $323,506 each.

Here is a breakdown of all the first-round clashes in the west by the numbers thanks to Opta. The losing team in the NBA Finals gets another $2,543,681 and the NBA champs get one more payout of $3,838,798. They are one of the stronger No. 8 seed to come along in quite some time. No other team can win that much.

However, the Pistons' first-round opponent, Milwaukee, is the top-seed in the east this year and finished with an NBA-best 60-22 record.

History suggests the Rockets are in trouble.

No. 4 BOSTON CELTICS (49-33) vs. L.A. will take the tied series back to the Staples Center on Thursday for Game 3.

The Spurs will take on the lowly Dallas Mavericks where the more noteworthy storyline will be the final game in the storied career of Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.

- The Rockets will have their work cut out for them if they want to keep the Utah Jazz off the glass.

He's played in 421 and is still looking for his first playoff outing.

The conference is loaded with talent and four teams have a legitimate chance to play for the title.

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