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First round of NBA playoffs on track for historic lack of competitiveness

Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and the Thunder beat the Mavericks by 38 in the first game of their playoff series. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

Thirty-eight points. Thirty-two points – twice. Twenty-nine points.

If you think that the first round of the NBA playoffs has featured an unusually number of lopsided results, you’re correct.

The average margin of victory in the playoffs through Thursday’s games is 17.1 points. That would easily be the largest of any first round since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984, Elias Sports Bureau research shows.

Of the 19 playoff games completed through Thursday, 14 were decided by 10 or more points, eight (42 percent) were decided by 20 or more points, and three (16 percent) were decided by 30 or more points.

In the regular season, 175 games (14 percent) were decided by 20 or more points and 35 (3 percent) were decided by 30 or more points.

Better-seeded teams are 16-3 entering Friday’s games. Lower-seeded teams, of course, haven’t had a chance to play two home games yet. But on Thursday, the Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers by 16 points in Indianapolis, and the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks by 29.

Is suspense in store for the rest of the first round? Well, after Thursday's games, each favorite has at least an 80 percent chance of winning the series, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.