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SI.COM

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FOR APRIL 17, 2017

Playoff Liftoff

The NBA postseason has arrived! That two-month-long marathon begins this weekend with 15 teams looking to dethrone the defending-champion Cavaliers. Out East, breakout star Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics will try to thwart LeBron James's quest for a seventh consecutive trip to the Finals. In the West, Kevin Durant's return from injury makes things difficult for any club (like Kawhi Leonard's Spurs) trying to push past the Warriors juggernaut. Are we approaching a third straight Warriors-Cavs Finals? In addition to tackling that question, our team of experts ranks the playoff field, breaks down each team's most important players and assesses every squad's entertainment value at SI.com/nba.

New Season, New Reality

FOR THE FIRST TIME since 1909, the Chicago Cubs (and third baseman Kris Bryant) are the defending World Series champions. And with that comes the first-ever championship banner raising at Wrigley Field. (The Cubs' 1907 and '08 titles came at West Side Park.) Tom Verducci was on hand for SI.com to take in all the festivities on the Northside.

With the Lovable Losers no longer, well, losers, what other long-awaited events will baseball see in the next few years? Will Bryce Harper help the Nats bring a pennant to D.C.? Will the Padres ever get that no-hitter? Are we edging closer to a 50--50 season? Jay Jaffe explores those and other novelties we'd love to see at SI.com/mlb.