Maybe this is the year the Warriors will not make it to the NBA Finals as representatives of the Western Conference. They are a traveling hospital, they will start the playoffs without looking sharp and without Stephen Curry, and they seem far from the quality that Houston shows, the team that does get scary now.
Maybe the Cavaliers are not the ambassadors of the East in the series for the title. They have qualified only as fourth in their conference and would face a great challenge, despite having LeBron James.
But probably the slips of Golden State and Cleveland in the regular season will end up importing very little, and both teams will star in their fourth consecutive final, which will impose a record.
The playoffs begin on Saturday, and nothing seems to guarantee the new Cavs-Warriors chapter. It is easier to imagine that the Rockets end up crashing against the Toronto Raptors, in a duel between the best of each conference.
But the Warriors could regain their old danger once Curry has recovered from a knee injury, which would happen in the second round of the postseason.
And James has played the last seven NBA Finals, so nobody knows better than him how to play in the playoffs, no matter what place his team occupies in regular programming.
In addition, the other classifieds carry a series of disappointing backgrounds. Neither the Houston coach, Mike D’Antoni, nor his star James Harden, have ever been crowned. And Chris Paul has not even advanced to the second round.
The Raptors achieved the best regular season in their history, but their last post-season adventure ceased in just four meetings against James and the Cavs in the second round last year.
Golden State is measured on Saturday at San Antonio, which ranked seventh in the West, in the duel that will launch the playoffs. Then, the Raptors will crash into the Washington Wizards, who were eighth in the East.
Miami, sixth in the East, will have Philadelphia in front of them, who finished third. And then, Portland and New Orleans are faced in another duel between third and sixth, but the West.
On Sunday, the seventh Milwaukee visits the second Boston and the Cavs receive the Pacers of Indana, fifths of the East. In the West, Utah will play in Oklahoma City, in a match between the fifth and fourth in the West.
The Rockets close weekend activity, measuring Minnesota, which has just conjured up the longest playoff drought in the NBA. The Timberwolves did not advance to these instances since 2004.