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The NBA playoffs: Fans return, no bubble, many contenders

Old friends will become foes, if only for a week or two. There are rematches from last year, new teams with home-court advantage, more fan capacity than at any other point this season and, perhaps best of all, no bubble.

The NBA playoffs are back.

Just about back to normal, too.

It all officially starts Saturday, a 16-team tournament that was preceded by six pre-playoff games to whet the postseason appetite. That play-in tournament — the NBA’s newest hit — is how LeBron James and the . . .

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