Adam Lauridsen: For those in a Warriors panic: 2009-10 Lakers: 4-6 in final 10 games; repeated as NBA champs. 1996-97 Bulls: 6-4 in final 10 games; repeated as NBA champs. 1994-95 Rockets: 5-5 in final 10 games; repeated as NBA champs. The mental fatigue of defending a title is very real.
The Celtics will open the playoffs at the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference believing they can win it all without their injured offseason acquisitions. “Finals. I’m very confident,” guard Terry Rozier when asked how far Boston can go. “Everybody has to be on the same page. And we just gotta play. And play hard.”
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The NBA, in an ongoing attempt to build more rest into the schedule and ease travel demands on its players, has announced another change to the NBA Finals format. The league introduced a revised template for its Finals schedule Wednesday, scrapping its long-standing Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday model with a pledge to ensure two days between games any time teams are required to change cities.