Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors are one the big favourites to win NBA 2016 title.Reuters

The NBA regular season has come to an end, after some great individual performances along with sterling teamplay. But it is that time of the year, where the top-eight teams from both the conference – East and West -- need to step up their game if they want to win the NBA title.

Defending champions, Golden State Warriors (73-9), who broke Chicago Bulls' record (72-10), after defeating Memhpis Grizzlies, will start the playoffs as the favourites. The Warriors were terrific in the regular season, winning 73 games. The Warriors are set to go against James Harden and the Houston Rockets, which is a mouthwatering first round clash.

San Antonio Spurs are another serious title contenders from the Western Conference. The Spurs face the Grizzlies in the opening round of the playoffs. And if things go according to plan in the West, an intriguing conference final could shape up between the Warriors and Spurs.

One assumes the competition to be tougher in the West, with Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder also set to provide stiff tests to Spurs and Warriors. Clippers face Portland Trail Blazers, while Thunder will battle it out against Dallas Mavericks.

Though the West may comprise of some strong teams in the NBA, East also have their fair share of sides to watch in the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the best team in the conference, with LeBron James and his team facing Detroit Pistons in the first round. The Cavaliers have been tipped to represent the East in the NBA finals.

The Cavs might be favourites, but Toronto Raptors have had a great season so far, winning 56 games, and they will provide a tough challenge to the Cavaliers. The Raptors start off their campaign against the Indiana Pacers. Besides the two teams, one cannot ignore teams like Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, who are set to face Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics in the opening round.

Eastern Conference qualifiers 

1 Golden State Warriors

2 San Antonio Spurs

3 Oklahoma City Thunder

4 Los Angeles Clippers

5 Portland Trail Blazers

6 Dallas Mavericks

7 Memphis Grizzlies

8 Houston Rockets

First round

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

Golden State home court : Oracle Arena; Houston: Toyota Center

Game 1 - Houston at Golden State, April 16

Game 2 - Houston at Golden State, April 18

Game 3 - Golden State at Houston, April 21.

Game 4 - Golden State at Houston, April 24

Game 5* - Houston at Golden State, April 27

Game 6* - Golden State at Houston, April 29

Game 7* - Houston at Golden State, May 1

San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies

San Antonio home court : AT & T Center ; Memphis: FedEx Forum

Game 1 -- Memphis at San Antonio, April 17

Game 2 -- Memphis at San Antonio, April 19

Game 3 -- San Antonio at Memphis, April 22

Game 4 -- San Antonio at Memphis, April 24

Game 5'* Memphis at San Antonio, April 26

Game 6 *San Antonio at Memphis, April 28

Game 7 * Memphis at San Antonio, April 30

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks

Oklahoma City home court: Chesapeake Energy Arena; Dallas: American Airlines Center

Game 1-- Dallas at Oklahoma City, April 16

Game 2-- Dallas at Oklahoma City, April 18

Game 3 --Oklahoma City at Dallas, April 21

Game 4 -- Oklahoma City at Dallas, April 23

Game 5 * Dallas at Oklahoma City, April 25

Game 6 * Oklahoma City at Dallas, April 28

Game 7 * Dallas at Oklahoma City, April 30

L.A. Clippers vs Portland Trail Blazers

L.A. Clippers home court: Staples Center; Portland: Moda Center

Game 1 -- Portland at L.A. Clippers, April 17

Game 2 -- Portland at L.A. Clippers, April 20

Game 3 -- L.A. Clippers at Portland, April 23]

Game 4 -- L.A. Clippers at Portland, April 25]

Game 5 * Portland at L.A. Clippers, April 27

Game 6 * L.A. Clippers at Portland, April 29

Game 7 * Portland at L.A. Clippers, May 1

Western Conference first round

1 Cleveland Cavaliers

2 Toronto Raptors

3 Miami Heat

4 Atlanta Hawks

5 Boston Celtics

6 Charlotte Hornets

7 Indiana Pacers

8 Detroit Pistons

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit Pistons 

Detriot home court:  The Palace of Auburn Hills; Cleveland: Q Arena

Game 1 --Detroit at Cleveland, April 17]

Game 2 -- Detroit at Cleveland, April 20]

Game 3-- Cleveland at Detroit, April 22]

Game 4 -- Cleveland at Detroit, April 24

Game 5 * Detroit at Cleveland, April 26

Game 6 * Cleveland at Detroit, April 28

Game 7* Detroit at Cleveland, April 30

Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers

Toronto home court: Air Canada Centre; Indiana: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game 1 -- Indiana at Toronto, April 16

Game 2-- Indiana at Toronto, April 18

Game 3 -- Toronto at Indiana, April 21

Game 4 -- Toronto at Indiana, April 23

Game 5 * Indiana at Toronto, April 23

Game 6 * Toronto at Indiana, April 29

Game 7 * Indiana at Toronto, May 1

Miami Heat vs Charlotte Hornets

Miami home court: American Airlines Arena; Charlotte: Time Warner Cable Arena

Game 1 -- Charlotte at Miami, April 17

Game 2 -- Wed., Charlotte at Miami, April 20

Game 3 -- Miami at Charlotte, April 23

Game 4 -- Miami at Charlotte, April 25

Game 5 * Charlotte at Miami, April 27

Game 6 * Miami at Charlotte, April 29

Game 7 * Charlotte at Miami, May 1

Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics

Atlanta home court: Philips Arena; Boston: TD garden

Game 1 -- Boston at Atlanta, April 16

Game 2-- Boston at Atlanta, April 19

Game 3 -- Atlanta at Boston, April 22

Game 4 -- Atlanta at Boston, April 24

Game 5 * Boston at Atlanta, April 26

Game 6 * Atlanta at Boston, April 28

Game 7 * Boston at Atlanta, April 30

TV listings: India: Sony Six/ HD. US: ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV. UK: BT Sport.

* Will only be played if required

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