The Guilfordian

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NBA sees exciting, unexpected season

After an exciting, unexpected season showcasing surprisingly dominant teams and the underwhelming performances of contenders, the NBA playoffs are scheduled to start April 14 after 82 regular season games played by the league’s 30 teams. Of these 30 teams, the top eight from each conference will participate in the playoffs.

The NBA first saw action on June 22 with the 2017 NBA draft in which Washington University guard Markelle Fultz was taken first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. Other notable draftees include UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, taken second by the Los Angeles Lakers, and Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, taken 14th overall by the Denver Nuggets, then traded to the Utah Jazz.

Sophomore Lakers fan Mohamed Togol talked about the Lakers’ rookie guard.

“(Special moments were) seeing Lonzo Ball doing big things,” said Togol. “Playing his game.”

The 2017 NBA offseason saw many all-star players switch teams. Players like Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Gordon Hayward all saw a team change by trade and through free-agency signings.

The 2017-18 NBA season started on Oct. 17. Shortly after, injuries began with Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, causing a season-ending injury only five minutes into his first game as a Celtic. Other notable season-ending injuries include Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin, New Orleans Pelicans center Demarcus Cousins and New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis.

Another notable injury, although not season-ending, is from 76ers rookie guard Fultz. Four games into the season, although able to play, Fultz was taken out of the rotation for a majority of the season due to a shoulder injury that caused him to change his shooting form.

Entering the 2017-18 season, the Golden State Warriors, the 2016-17 defending champions, were expected to have another dominant season. The Warriors have had three consecutive seasons as the Western Conference’s first seed, three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two titles (2014-15, 2016-17) in those three seasons. Led by former MVP guard Steph Curry and also by former MVP forward Kevin Durant with his signing in 2016.

This changed on March 11 when the Houston Rockets clinched the first playoff spot of the season, and later on became a lock for the first seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets were also the first team this season to earn 60 wins, doing so in 74 games led by guards James Harden and Chris Paul. The Rockets not only won, but also broke records as they yet again broke the single-season record for most three-pointers made. On April 1, the Rockets totaled 1,184 3-pointers made with five games left to play in the regular season. The next closest team was the 2016-17 Houston Rockets, totaling 1,181 3-pointers. This feat was largely possible due to the fact that the Rockets led the league in 3-point shots attempted and 3-point shots made per game.

Togol talked about his reactions to how the season unfolded.

“Seeing the Rockets dominating, I like that,” said Togol. “Just seeing Chris Paul and James Harden dominating, I like that.”

Early College junior L.A. Clipper’s fan Brandon Mendoza shares the same sentiments.

“I wanted the Rockets to do well cause I like Chris Paul and Harden,” said Mendoza. “So I hope they win the (championship).”

The Rockets are not the only record breakers this season, on March 30 LeBron James surpassed Michael Jordan for most consecutive double-digit scoring games with 867 consecutive games and six games left to play in the regular season.

First-year Cleveland Cavaliers fan Keon Adams talks about this season’s most memorable moment.

“LeBron surpassing Jordan for consecutive double digits,” said Adams.

In addition to breaking records, the NBA saw the rise of new stars and elite play from veterans, like 76ers rookie guard Ben Simmons.

First-year and Cavs fan Louis Gozan talked about his reactions of the season.

“Unexpected things that I saw, Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell,” said Gozan “LeBron is pulling a lot of things this year. I’m pulling for those three.”

Despite the Toronto Raptors clinching the Eastern Conference, many still believe that the Cavs will win the Eastern Conference finals.

Adams, Gozan and Mendoza believe that the finals matchup will be the Rockets and the Cavs, but Togol believes the matchup will be the Rockets vs the Raptors.

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