5 things you need to know now

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The median age for NBA viewers on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV is 42, years younger than the National Football League (50) and MLB (57).

The NBA Finals are set to begin on May 31. It will end with the 2018 NBA Finals.

IN by contrast have quietly put together a mightily impressive campaign, headlined by shooting guard Victor Oladipo and center Myles Turner, ensuring the loss of Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder has not been felt sorely.

Raptors/Wizards vs. Cavaliers/Pacers-If the Raptors advance to this round, they will host the series.

Each conference's bracket is fixed; there is no reseeding. A couple of first-round series are expected to be one-sided, but there are only a handful of matchups in which only one team seemingly has a real chance to advance to the conference semifinals. Televised coverage can be found via ESPN, ABC-TV and TNT. Home-court advantage and one of the league's best backcourts should get the Blazers to the second round, though it wouldn't be surprising to see either team advance.

Don't expect Houston to be seriously challenged until the conference finals. However, even when he went down with an eye injury in the final month this season, the 76ers were able to finish on a sixteen-game winning streak in which they beat top teams like the Cavaliers and clinched the third seed. Still, Toronto - which was third in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating this season - should be able to survive.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo may still be a year away from fully unleashing his wrath on the league, but even now, he is a must-watch player.

5 things you need to know now

No. 3 76ers vs.

Second-placed Boston Celtics will take on seventh-placed Milwaukee Bucks without star player Kyrie Irving, the first game of the series at Boston.

Suggestions the combination of Chris Paul and leading MVP candidate James Harden would not work have been emphatically brushed aside, with the Rockets entering the playoffs with the best record in the regular season (65-17).

Finally, in a matchup receiving little attention. But if anyone is capable of creating a game plan to upset the ailing defending champions, it's San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

With the upstart Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets proving themselves to be true contenders, new blood was the name of the game during the 2017-18 regular season.

No. 3 Trail Blazers vs.

The Warriors-Spurs game will be followed Saturday by three other openers - Washington-Toronto, Miami-Philadelphia and New Orleans-Portland. While injuries forced him to miss 22 games this season, he still managed to post strong numbers. The Jazz won last year's No.4 vs. No.5 matchup in seven games, and they could have a repeat performance this season. But the Jazz have to score too, and therein lies the most pressing question of their postseason: Can rookie guard Donovan Mitchell be the same star-caliber player on this stage?

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