NBA playoff tips: Back our Sunday first-round treble
Three teams led by MVP-calibre players feature in our first accumulator of the basketball postseason.
Milwaukee Bucks to beat Boston Celtics –
The Celtics closed out the regular season with four defeats in their last six games, and look primed for an upset with star point guard Kyrie Irving out for the campaign.
In Game 1, they host the young Bucks, who have won five of their last eight games, one of which was a 106-102 victory over the Celtics on 3 April.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in this series, and the Bucks have previous in making fast starts against higher seeds in the first round, having beaten the Toronto Raptors on the road in Game 1 last year.
Cleveland Cavaliers to beat Indiana Pacers –
The Cavaliers came into the 2017 playoffs on a poor run of form, and then won 12 of 13 games to walk into the NBA Finals.
Expect more of the same from LeBron James and co. when they take on the Pacers in the first round.
Cleveland haven’t looked convincing all season, but they won 11 of their last 14 games, have much more postseason experience than Indiana and a record of 29 wins and 12 defeats at home.
Oklahoma City Thunder to beat Utah Jazz –
This is arguably the most evenly-matched series in this year’s playoffs, but it’s safe to side with the Thunder at home in Game 1.
Oklahoma City - led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook - posted a home record of 27 wins and 14 defeats in the regular season, while the Jazz went 20-21 on the road.
Utah struggled offensively against the Thunder this season, averaging just 89.5 points per game, and have lost their last three against OKC.