Portland had little trouble with the hottest team in the NBA on Friday.
Next up, the coldest.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 50 points and six 3-pointers when the Trail Blazers limited Utah to 17 points in each of the final three quarters in an 100-81 victory Friday.
The Blazers (33-26) never trailed while breaking the Jazz’s 11-game winning streak.
Next up, a team that never led.
Phoenix gave up the first 19 points and trailed 24-2 six minutes into a 128-117 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. It was never that close.
The Raptors trailed 110-108 with 3.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter after Middleton split a pair of free throws. Following a timeout, Toronto inbounded the ball to Valanciunas, who paused before driving for the tying dunk.
Toronto scored the first five points of the extra session, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Terry and Middleton capped an 8-0 Bucks run, giving Milwaukee a 118-115 lead with 1:58 left.
Valanciunas stopped the run with a dunk, but Antetokounmpo’s jumper with 13 seconds left put the Bucks up 120-117.
Home-field advantage has reigned supreme as of late, but that hasn’t always been the case, by any stretch:
This will be 4th Super Bowl in last 5 seasons to feature two No. 1 seeds. From 1994-2012, No. 1 seeds met in Super Bowl in only 1 of 19 seasons.
Home teams have always had an advantage when it comes to the playoffs. They are 89-53 in the Wild Card Round (0.627), 152-62 in the Divisional Round (0.710), and 94-46 in the conference championships (0.671). There are few reasons to explain why:
But none of that really explains why top-seeded teams are cruising through competition now more than ever. In the last five years, home teams are 35-15 (0.700) in the playoffs and the 2016 Cowboys are the only No. 1 seed to go down early.