Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.
Raise your hand if you thought the quickest Western Conference first-round series would be won by the Portland Trail Blazers. If you raised your hand, call your mother and admit to her that you're a liar. The Blazers managed to evade the seven-game sentence every other advancing Western Conference playoff team had to fulfill, despite being the only lower seed to prevail. Now they face an even more monumental Texas challenge in the San Antonio Spurs, the defending Western Conference champs and owners of the best regular-season record in the NBA. The teams split the season series, with Portland winning the first two meetings (including a win at San Antonio), while the Spurs captured the last two (including a victory at Portland).
Western Conference playoffs