Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by superstar LeBron James, swept the Toronto Raptors but lost the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals to the Boston Celtics. Not only did the Cavaliers lose, James had one of his worst postseason performances to date: 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting, nine assists, seven rebounds and seven turnovers. Plus, Cleveland’s 26-point halftime deficit was the largest in James’s postseason career.

The Houston Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz in five games during the second round, getting a superb performance from point guard Chris Paul in the final game. The eight-time all-NBA guard scored a playoff career-high 41 points in Game 5, recording 10 assists and seven rebounds without a turnover. That made him the first player in playoff history to have at least 40 points and 10 assists without a turnover since turnovers became an official statistic in 1977-78, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Golden State Warriors took care of business, too, dispatching the New Orleans Pelicans in five games, opening the third quarter with a 25-4 run that removed all doubt in Game 5. And so, as expected, the Houston Rockets will face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Our postseason probabilities are based on the win rates that fuel our weekly power rankings and take into account a team’s actual win-loss record; its expected win-loss record based on points scored and allowed, also known as its Pythagorean winning percentage; and its regressed win-loss record, to account for a small sample size of games played.

As the NBA playoffs unfold, we’ll provide updated title probabilities for every team at the conclusion of every series.


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