The Warriors seem likely to reach the finals once again.
Golden State is the two-time defending champion and has won three of the last four titles. It earned the top spot in the Western Conference in 2018-19 and opens the playoffs as the Vegas favorites to hang a third straight banner.
But, the Rockets, Nuggets and Thunder all could give Golden State a challenge. All of those teams, however, will have to survive tough matchups in the opening round.
Here’s a breakdown of all the first-round West series, by the numbers:
Warriors vs. Clippers
The Warriors finished the season with a true shooting percentage of 59.6%, more than a full percentage point better than any other team.
The Clippers clearly have the best second unit in the league. They average 53.2 bench points, which is the most of any NBA team since 1996-97.
The Warriors beat Los Angeles in three of their four matchups during the regular season. They held the Clippers to just a 33.8% shooting percentage over the four games.
Nuggets vs. Spurs
This is a matchup that could be tough for the second-seeded Nuggets. Denver and the Spurs split their season series, with the home team winning every game.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic became just the fourth player in NBA history to average 20 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and seven or more assists in a season. Russell Westbrook, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson are the only three others who have ever put up those numbers.
The Spurs have made the playoffs in an incredible 22 straight seasons, which ties them for the longest such streak in NBA history. They last missed the postseason in 1996-97.
Trail Blazers vs. Thunder
The Trail Blazers may hold the third seed, but they lost to the Thunder in all four of the teams’ matchups this season. Oklahoma City averaged 128 points in those games.
Paul George had his best career season for Oklahoma City. Since Jan. 1, only James Harden (38.2) has averaged more points than the Thunder star. In total, George finished 2018-19 tallying 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He also added 2.2 steals per appearance.
Portland definitely has a home court advantage. It went 32-9 at the Moda Center this season, tied for the third-best home record in the league.
Rockets vs. Jazz
James Harden set multiple NBA records this season. He also became the first player ever to average 12 or more 3-point attempts over an entire season.
The Rockets will have their work cut out for them if they want to keep the Jazz off the glass. Utah grabbed 80.3% of available defensive rebounds, tied for the best percentage in the NBA.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert proved himself on both ends of the floor in 2018-19. He’s just the second player in franchise history to average 15 or more points, 12 or more rebounds and 2 or more blocks in a season.
All stats provided by OptaLarry