The NBA playoffs have arrived!
With the NBA playoffs starting Saturday, here's 10 things to know before the second season begins.
Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer | 4/15/2017, 12:40 p.m.
LEBRON IN FIRST ROUNDS
Good luck, Indiana.
LeBron James not only never loses in a first-round series, but the man rarely loses first-round playoff games, period.
He's played in 51 first-round games. His teams went 2-2 in his first four, and are 42-5 since — including 17-0 since May 6, 2012. James hasn't played in a Game 6 in a first-round series since 2008.
James has been part of 131 wins so far in his playoff career, tied with San Antonio's Tony Parker for the most among active players.
More milestones await James in these playoffs, too.
If Cleveland makes a deep run, he may take over the No. 1 spot on the all-time career playoff scoring list. He enters this postseason No. 4 at 5,572 points — behind only No. 3 Kobe Bryant (5,640), No. 2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) and No. 1 Michael Jordan (5,987).
Another landmark for James comes Saturday in Game 1 against Indiana, when he makes his 200th playoff appearance.
MVP CANDIDATES COLLIDE
Mr. Westbrook, meet Mr. Harden.
No, the Maurice Podoloff Trophy — otherwise known as the MVP trophy — won't automatically go to the winner. But this will be the rage of the Oklahoma City-Houston first-round series, with presumptive MVP frontrunners Russell Westbrook and James Harden set to lead their teams into the postseason.
Westbrook averaged a triple-double this season, 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists for the Thunder. Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds for the Rockets.
Including playoffs, Harden and Westbrook have faced off 16 times, each player walking away a winner in eight of those. Westbrook has posted five triple-doubles in those games, including two this season.
THE SPURS REMAIN FANTASTIC
San Antonio is in the postseason for the 20th consecutive year. That's now tied for the third-longest such streak in NBA history.
Philadelphia went 22 consecutive times from 1950 through 1971. Portland made 21 straight trips from 1983 through 2003, and Utah got 20 appearances in a row from 1984 through 2003.
But that doesn't tell anywhere near the whole story of the Spurs' consistent excellence.
The Spurs haven't just had an NBA-record 20 straight winning seasons — they've won at least 60 percent of their games in each of those seasons. That streak is eight seasons longer than any other NBA franchise ever posted, and also the longest in any North American major pro sport (the Montreal Canadiens and San Francisco 49ers had winning percentages of .600 or better in 16 consecutive seasons).
BUSY IN BOSTON
Sports fans will be sufficiently busy in Boston over the next few days.
Bulls at Celtics on Sunday. Ottawa at Boston in the NHL playoffs on Monday. Bulls at Celtics on Tuesday. Senators at Bruins on Wednesday.
Oh, let's not forget the Boston Marathon on Monday — and of course, the annual Patriots Day game coinciding at Fenway Park that morning, with the Red Sox playing host to the Tampa Bay Rays.
FINALLY, THE POSTSEASON