The top seed of the Western Conference this season is the Golden State Warriors (67-15) and they swept the eighth seed Portland Trail Blazers (41-41). The Utah Jazz (51-31) upset the Los Angeles Clippers (51-31) in the 4/5 match-up. And now the Jazz will visit the Warriors in the second round. The Dubs are 4-0, and the Jazz are 4-3 in the playoffs.
These two teams played three times during the regular season, with Golden State winning 2 of 3. The one Jazz win was against Golden State in Oakland, California. The Warriors have had their team around full strength for most of the season, but did not have it as easy as they had in previous seasons. The Jazz were injured all season long. Utah doesn't have the experience or on-court familiarity that Golden State enjoys. But the flip side is that there's a lot more data to gameplan from the Dubs season than from the Jazz.
We have an idea of what Golden State is going to do. No one knows what Utah is capable of.
It's likely that Steve Kerr will not make it back to coach his club, so they will have to rely on their stars (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green) even more. Quin Snyder is still here making murder-faces on the Jazz bench, and the team's depth will have to use their length and energy to keep it close.
Most everyone on the planet is rooting for the Warriors here. Funny, I don't remember that being the case decades ago when I first found the NBA game.
I know that Gordon Hayward, Joe Johnson, George Hill, Rudy Gobert and crew aren't that popular. But they'll know our names after this series.