Friday, 13 April 2018

2018 NBA playoffs: The X-factors that will shape the Western Conference playoffs.

Carmelo Anthony figures to be tested by a Jazz team
with Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio at the controls. (Getty)
As we get set for the start of the 2018 NBA playoffs this weekend, let’s take a look at a handful of notable questions that could determine how things shake out in the Western Conference bracket:

The state of Stephen Curry’s knee

Yes, the Golden State Warriors still have three other All-Stars to lean on while Curry gets right following a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. No, the Warriors haven’t really had much to play for in recent weeks, with the Houston Rockets running away with the West’s top seed and Steve Kerr’s club locked into the No. 2 spot. And yes, the Dubs have also had to deal with a bunch of other injuries down the stretch, spending time over the season’s final month without Kevin DurantDraymond GreenKlay ThompsonAndre Iguodalaand Patrick McCaw, among others.

But you’d be within your rights to worry that the Warriors’ underwhelming close to the season — 4-6 since Steph went down, a negative point differential, only one win over a playoff-caliber opponent — offers an indication of how vulnerable Golden State might be in the postseason without a fully operational Curry. There’s a reason why the Warriors went 41-10 with Curry in the lineup this year and 17-14 without him, and why they outscore opponents by nearly 15 points per 100 possessions with him on the court, compared to a plus-2.9-per-100 mark when he sits.




By Yahoo Sports Staff.

Full story at Yahoo News.