Game 1 Preview: Raptors vs Magic

But, you know, it's what's best for him. These moves were followed by DeAndre Jordan leaving in the summer of 2018 to sign a free agent deal with the Dallas Mavericks, thus dismantling the heart and soul of the "Lob City" connection, while sending/allowing all of their star power to go elsewhere.

Marc Gasol, the trade-deadline acquisition whose arrival meant we couldn't ask, on the eve of Game 1 of the first round, Jonas Valanciunas about all those chip shots he missed in the final moments of Game 1 of the second round past year, said all of that stuff was meaningless. The 3rd year player who led the "bench mob" last year for the Raptors has become one of the most entertaining players to watch, becoming a favorite to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. They joined Towns and long-term absentees F Robert Covington (bone bruise on right knee), F Luol Deng (left Achilles soreness), G Derrick Rose (right elbow surgery) and G Jeff Teague (left foot inflammation) in missing the game. The team was plagued with injuries all throughout the year, most notably to players like James, Rajon Rondo, and of course, Lonzo Ball.

Meanwhile, Head Coach Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers regrouped with the team at hand and got to work. The Raptors have also lost three series over that same period in which they had home-court advantage, even though National Basketball Association teams have a win probability at home of about 65 per cent in the playoffs.

Gordon has often been tasked with stopping the opposition's best player this season, and he takes pride in the assignment and loves the challenge. It was a slight improvement from last season when the team finished the year on a 35-47 record. They're going to be a tough out, even if it's a short series (i.e. 4-5 games).

The Magic can be the sixth, seventh or eighth seed.

Orlando is one of just eight teams to have won at Scotiabank Arena this season and is one of seven teams to have beaten Toronto a couple of times in the regular season. Not quite the outcome the Lakers expected when the season began. Kaminsky is at the end of his rookie-scale contract, and the Hornets can restrict his free agency by making a qualifying offer of about $5 million next season.

In the day leading up to Johnson's surprise announcement, multiple reports were suggesting Walton was set to be sacked.

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Orlando has ended a six-season postseason drought, while the Hornets' last playoff appearance was in 2016.

In a press conference with reporters, Johnson explained he was "happier" before he took on the position.

The Lakers made one structural change Wednesday when they chose to part ways with athletic trainer Marco Nunez, who had been in the top job since 2016.

The Los Angeles Clippers have a far different outlook.

Toronto has kept an eye on the playoffs all season. He said this team had some experienced guys, and now it had some other experienced guys, and all of that was good. "This team, this organization, has done so much for my career".

JaVale McGee, who established himself as a solid NBA center, believes the Lakers are still irresistible to any player or executive with the proper perspective on basketball and life. Clippers playoff basketball that is.

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