The Best Playoff Season in All of Sports? Here’s Your NBA Playoffs Guide

The NBA Playoffs are set to the best playoffs season in all of sports. Here’s your must-watch guide to who’s playing, when and how.

aNewDomain — Exactly 1,230 regular season games later, a little more than half of the NBA is moving on to the postseason. This playoff season is filled with intrigue and no clear-cut favorite to raise the trophy in June.

Here’s a capsule look at each first-round series as we enter what could be the best playoff season in all of sports.

NBA Eastern Conference

(1) Atlanta vs. (8) Brooklyn

Season series: Atlanta 4-0

The Hawks clinched the top seed in the conference forever ago, and the Nets survived the demolition derby that was the race for the eighth spot. While New Jersey had more momentum at the end of the season, it’s hard to imagine the Hawks not advancing to the second round.

Game 1: at Atlanta, April 19, 5:30 p.m.

Game 2: at Atlanta, April 22, 7 p.m.

Game 3: at Brooklyn, April 25, 3 p.m.

Game 4: at Brooklyn, April 27, TBD

*Game 5: at Atlanta, April 29, TBD

*Game 6: at Brooklyn, May 1, TBD

*Game 7: at Atlanta, May 3, TBD

(The asterisk means these games will be played if necessary to determine a winner.)

 

(2) Cleveland vs. (7) Boston

Season series: Tied 2-2

With LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on board, the Cavaliers clearly have the talent advantage. The Celtics are in the playoffs at least a year before they figured, much of that due to the dearth of talent in the conference. Brad Stevens is proving to be a viable NBA coach but his Boston team stands little chance in this series.

Game 1: at Cleveland, April 19, 3 p.m.

Game 2: at Cleveland, April 21, 7 p.m.

Game 3: at Boston, April 23, 7 p.m.

Game 4: at Boston, April 26, 1 p.m.

*Game 5: at Cleveland, April 28, TBD

*Game 6: at Boston, April 30, TBD

*Game 7: at Cleveland, May 2

 

(3) Chicago vs. (6) Milwaukee

Season series: Chicago 3-1

Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are back in the lineup, making the Bulls legitimate challengers for the conference title. The Bucks lead the league in forced turnovers and neither team scored 100 points against the other in the season series. Expect tight, low-scoring games, which is great for NBA purists and ratings poison for the networks.

Game 1: at Chicago, April 18, 7 p.m.

Game 2: at Chicago, April 20, 8 p.m.

Game 3: at Milwaukee, April 23, 8 p.m.

Game 4: at Milwaukee, April 25, 5:30 p.m.

*Game 5: at Chicago, April 27, TBD

*Game 6: at Milwaukee, April 30, TBD

*Game 7: at Chicago, May 2, TBD

 

(4) Toronto vs. (5) Washington

Season series: Toronto 3-0

The high-scoring Raptors spent most of the season near the top of the Eastern Conference pile, mostly based on an offense that’s tough to stop. John Wall and Bradley Beal form a tough backcourt for the Wizards, who like to clamp down on defense. This series is the most likely to last seven games.

Game 1: at Toronto, April 18, 12:30 p.m.

Game 2: at Toronto, April 21, 8 p.m.

Game 3: at Washington, April 24, 8 p.m.

Game 4: at Washington, April 26, 7 p.m.

*Game 5: at Toronto, April 29, TBD

*Game 6: at Washington, May 1, TBD

*Game 7: at Toronto, May 3, TBD

NBA Western Conference

(1) Golden State vs. (8) New Orleans

Season series: Golden State 3-1

The Warriors pretty much led the West from wire-to-wire on their way to 67 victories this season. MVP candidate Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are deadly 3-point marksmen for a team that easily led the league in shooting percentage from long range. New Orleans got into the playoffs by defeating the Spurs on the final day of the season. It will be fun to watch another MVP contender, Anthony Davis, make his first playoff run.

Game 1: at Golden State, April 18, 3:30 p.m.

Game 2: at Golden State, April 20, 10:30 p.m.

Game 3: at New Orleans, April 23, 9:30 p.m.

Game 4: at New Orleans, April 25, 8 p.m.

*Game 5: at Golden State, April 28, TBD

*Game 6: at New Orleans, May 1, TBD

*Game 7: at Golden State, May 3, TBD

 

(2) Houston vs. (7) Dallas

Season series: Houston 3-1

Houston’s James Harden, yet another MVP candidate in the Western Conference, hasn’t won a playoff series since 2012. But he’s coming off a spectacular season that ended with the Rockets earning a No. 2 seed in their final game. A good series from banged-up Dwight Howard would help Houston. The same could be said of struggling Dirk Nowitzki for the Mavericks, who almost stunned the Spurs in the first round last season.

Game 1: at Houston, April 18, 9:30 p.m.

Game 2: at Houston, April 21, 9:30 p.m.

Game 3: at Dallas, April 24, 7 p.m.

Game 4: at Dallas, April 26, 9:30 p.m.

*Game 5: at Houston, April 28, TBD

*Game 6: at Dallas, April 30, TBD

*Game 7: at Houston, May 2, TBD

 

(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) San Antonio

Season series: Tied 2-2

The Clippers finished the season 14-1 once they got Blake Griffin back, ensuring that they would end up with home-court advantage in the first round. Teamed with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers are a tough draw for anyone. While this wasn’t exactly a vintage Spurs’ season, they could have finished as the second seed had they beaten the Pelicans in their last game. Budding star Kawhi Leonard could be the difference in this hard-fought series.

Game 1: at Los Angeles, April 19, 10:30 p.m.

Game 2: at Los Angeles, April 22, 10:30 p.m.

Game 3: at San Antonio, April 24, 9:30 p.m.

Game 4: at San Antonio, April 26, 3:30 p.m.

*Game 5: at Los Angeles, April 28, TBD

*Game 6: at San Antonio, April 30, TBD

*Game 7: at Los Angeles, May 2, TBD

 

(4) Portland vs. (5) Memphis

Season series: Memphis 4-0

Memphis gets the home-court edge despite being the lower seed because it had the better regular-season record. The Blazers won their division with little challenge thanks to Oklahoma City’s health problems. Speaking of which, both of these teams limp into the playoffs with key stars questionable for this series. Memphis’ physical play should be the difference.

Game 1: at Memphis, April 19, 8 p.m.

Game 2: at Memphis, April 22, 8 p.m.

Game 3: at Portland, April 25, 10:30 p.m.

Game 4: at Portland, April 27, 10:30 p.m.

*Game 5: at Memphis, April 29, TBD

*Game 6: at Portland, May 1, TBD

*Game 7: at Memphis, May 3, TBD

(The asterisk means these games will be played if necessary to determine a winner.)

All game times listed are Eastern Standard Time

For aNewDomain, I’m Rodney Campbell.

About the author

Rodney Campbell

Based in Phoenix, Rodney Campbell is a sportswriter and travel editor for aNewDomain and our sister pub, BreakingModern.

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