2018 NBA Playoffs: 10 fun facts to know heading into the first round of the postseason
There's a lot you probably don't know about this year's playoffs ... this will help
The NBA regular season is over and the playoff matchups are set. The field is as wide-open as it has been for years, with the relative struggles of the Warriors and Cavs giving hope to the other 14 playoff teams that we might not get another iteration of the last three NBA Finals.
To get you prepared for the madness, which begins on Saturday, we decided to put together a list of some fun facts about this year's postseason. Feel free to use them at your playoff party, or just drop them at some random bar and walk away slowly when people start looking at you quizzically. Either way, you're going to come away with more knowledge than you came in with, which is all we can ask. Enjoy.
1. Sixers are historically hot
The 76ers won their last 16 regular-season games heading into the playoffs, the longest winning streak going into the postseason in NBA history.
2. Rags vs. Riches (relatively speaking)
The first-round matchup between the No. 4 Cavaliers and and No. 5 Pacers is a battle of the highest and lowest salaries in the entire playoffs. According to Spotrac, the Cavs' total salary this season is $136 million, while the Pacers check in at $93.7 million.
3. Richest playoff performer
The Cavs may have the highest payroll, but they don't have the highest-paid player. That honor goes to Warriors guard Stephen Curry, taking home a cool $34.7 million this season. LeBron James is second at $33.3 million.
4. Age ain't nothin' but a number
Cleveland once again sets a high mark for playoff teams, but this time it's for age (signing 33-year-old Kendrick Perkins to the roster probably didn't help). The Cavs have an average age of 28.9, while the Baby Blazers are the youngest team in the postseason, with an average age of 24.6.
Ageless Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is the oldest player in the postseason at 40 (turns 41 on July 28). The second-oldest player is Bucks guard Jason Terry, who turns 41 on Sept. 15. The youngest player is Pacers rookie Ike Anigbogu at 19 years old (turns 20 on Oct. 22), but the youngest player who will actually get on the court is Sixers rookie Markelle Futlz, who is also 19 but will turn 20 on May 29.
5. Mild, mild West?
The Western Conference was crazy this season and is widely considered to be the superior conference, but because of a combination of parity and injuries, only two teams from the West ended up winning 50 games -- the Rockets and Warriors -- the fewest since the 1986-87 season. The East had four teams with 50 wins or more -- the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers and Cavs.
6. Bad omen for Warriors
The defending champion Warriors went 10-10 in their final 20 games of the season. Over the past 20 seasons, no team has ever won the NBA title after winning fewer than 11 of their final 20 regular-season games.
7. Ridiculous rookie
At 20.5 points per game, Utah's Donovan Mitchell is the first rookie to lead a playoff team in scoring since Carmelo Anthony averaged 21.0 points for the Denver Nuggets in 2003-04.
8. It's lonely out West
Only two teams from the Pacific time zone made the playoffs this season -- the Warriors and Trail Blazers. The Jazz are the only team on Mountain Time. The Timberwolves, Bucks, Thunder, Spurs, Rockets and Pelicans run on Central Time, while the Pacers, Cavaliers, Raptors, Sixers, Celtics, Wizards and Heat are in the Eastern time zone.
9. LeBron the playoff machine
LeBron by far leads all active players with 9,127 playoff minutes, and is second only to Tim Duncan on the all-time list. The next highest-active player is Tony Parker with 7,691, and after that it drops down to LeBron's former teammate, Dwyane Wade, at 6,570.
10. Wall distributing the ball
Of all the players in this year's playoffs, John Wall has the highest career playoff assist average with 9.52. Chris Paul is just behind him with 9.45, and they're followed by Rajon Rondo's 9.07.
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