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Old 04-16-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
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Rockets look to take down Warriors in Game 1 of playoffs

The Golden State Warriors, fresh off their record-setting 73-9 regular season, have to start all over this afternoon as they start their playoff run in search of a second straight NBA championship.

\The Warriors' reward to open the playoffs is a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets. It's a matchup of the game's two best scorers this season -- Stephen Curry and James Harden. The Warriors are 12-1 in their last 13 against the Rockets and Curry has sizzled in those games, shooting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.

Today's four-game NBA playoff schedule opens with Indiana at Toronto. This has been the best regular season in Toronto history, a 56-26 mark that got the Raptors the No. 2 seed in the East. But this season's real goal for the Raptors has been finally getting some playoff success. Toronto was swept out of the first round last year, has lost its last five opening-round series and has reached the East semifinals once, in 2001.

Boston opens at Atlanta this evening. The Hawks missed a chance to get the No 3 seed when they lost to lowly Washington 109-98 in the regular season finale Wednesday. But they still have the home court edge against the fifth-seeded Celtics.

Finally tonight, Oklahoma City opens at home against Dallas. The Mavericks' 37-year-old center Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs in scoring at 18.3 points a game this season. Nowitzki's shooting touch for a 7-footer poses matchup problems for most teams. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said his knowledge and basketball IQ is just as important.

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