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NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: Tightly Contested Series Destined to Go the Distance

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NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: Tightly Contested Series Destined to Go the Distance
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After a grueling regular season, the NBA playoffs are finally set to start on Saturday, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups. Some teams—such as the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder—should have little trouble dispatching their opponents, but others are in for a fight.

There are a few series that look like they can go either way, so it should be an extremely interesting first round. It remains to be seen if any team can truly step up and challenge the league's elite squads, but an emotional victory in a hard-fought series could go a long way.

Here are three series destined to go seven games, as well as a full first-round schedule including when and where to watch every game.

 

 

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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A budding rivalry appears to be taking shape in the Western Conference as the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies will meet in the first round for the second consecutive year. The script is flipped to some degree, as the Clippers are the No. 4 seed this season, and the Grizzlies are the No. 5—the opposite was true last year. Regardless of that fact, both teams are 56-26 during the regular season and are very evenly matched.

Their series went to seven games last year and resulted in the Clippers coming out on top. It was an exciting series with plenty of ups and downs, and the same promises to be true this time around. The Grizzlies are noted more for their defense and deliberate style of offense, while the Clippers are a high-octane team that likes to fly. The Grizzlies and Clippers are truly polar opposites, and that is why they mesh so well.

The Clippers went 3-1 against Memphis during the regular season, so they are probably favored, but the Grizzlies are a blue-collar team that will push L.A. to the limit. The explosiveness of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford and others should allow the Clippers to advance past the Grizzlies once again in seven games, but there will be plenty of nail-biters along the way.

 

 

Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Eastern Conference boasts an intriguing No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup of its own in the first round, as the Brooklyn Nets will take on the Chicago Bulls. The Nets had an up-and-down season during their first year in Brooklyn, but they ultimately captured the fourth seed with a record of 49-33. The Bulls finished 45-37, but they are much more dangerous than their record suggests.

The big question surrounding this series is the health of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. He hasn't played since tearing his ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs last season, and while he hasn't been ruled out, there is no indication that he will play against the Nets. If Rose ultimately does suit up in this series, though, it could give the Bulls a huge psychological edge and perhaps lead them to victory.

Whatever the case, the Bulls and Nets are in for a long series. The Bulls actually won the season series 3-1, so it can be argued that they are favored despite the fact that they are the lower seed. The Nets have a star trio in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, however, so they won't be an easy out. Even so, the Bulls have come together as a team this season and have what it takes to win Game 7 on the road.

 

 

Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the NBA's most surprising teams this season has been the Denver Nuggets, as they captured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and contended with the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder near the top of the conference for much of the season. The Nuggets have done great things without having a true superstar, but they will have to deal with an exciting Golden State Warriors team in the first round that boasts one of the league's rising stars.

The Warriors took a big step forward this year thanks to the play of guard Stephen Curry. He averaged nearly 23 points and seven assists per game during the regular season and nailed 3.5 trifectas per contest as well. Curry is an incredibly dangerous offensive threat, and the Nuggets will have their hands full. Denver won the season series 3-1, but all of the games were high-scoring and most of them were quite close.

Curry could very well push the Warriors past the Nuggets, but Denver plays such great team basketball that it should be able to weather the storm. The Warriors have a talented roster, but they rely heavily on one player, while Denver gets production throughout the lineup. That will help the Nuggets advance in seven games.

 

 

Entire NBA Playoff Schedule

 

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat (66-16) vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks (38-44)

Game 1 – Sunday, April 21, Milwaukee at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tuesday, April 23, Milwaukee at Miami, 7:30 p.m., NBATV 
Game 3 – Thursday, April 25, Miami at Milwaukee, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Sunday, April 28, Miami at Milwaukee, 3:30 p.m., ABC 
Game 5* – Tuesday, April 30, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD
Game 6* – Thursday, May 2, Miami at Milwaukee, TBD
Game 7* – Saturday May 4, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD 

No. 2 New York Knicks (54-28) vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics (41-40)

Game 1 – Saturday, April 20, Boston at New York, 3 p.m., ABC
Game 2 – Tuesday, April 23, Boston at New York, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Friday, April 26, New York at Boston, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sunday, April 28, New York at Boston, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5* – Wednesday, May 1, Boston at New York, TBD
Game 6* – Friday, May 3, New York at Boston, TBD
Game 7* – Sunday, May 5, Boston at New York, TBD

No. 3 Indiana Pacers (49-32) vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks (44-38)

Game 1 – Sunday, April 21, Atlanta at Indiana, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 24, Atlanta at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBATV
Game 3 – Saturday, April 27, Indiana at Atlanta, 7 p.m., ESPN 
Game 4 – Monday, April 29, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD
Game 5* – Wednesday, May 1, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD
Game 6* – Friday, May 3, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD
Game 7* – Sunday, May 5, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD 

No. 4 Brooklyn Nets (49-33) vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls (45-37)

Game 1 – Saturday, April 20, Chicago at Brooklyn, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Monday, April 22, Chicago at Brooklyn, 8 p.m., TNT 
Game 3 – Thursday, April 25, Brooklyn at Chicago, 8:30 p.m., NBATV
Game 4 – Saturday, April 27, Brooklyn at Chicago, 2 p.m., TNT
Game 5* – Monday, April 29, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD
Game 6* – Thursday, May 2, Brooklyn at Chicago, TBD
Game 7* – Saturday, May 4, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD

 

Western Conference

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22) vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets (45-37)

Game 1 – Sunday, April 21, Houston at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 24, Houston at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Saturday, April 27, Oklahoma City at Houston, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Monday, April 29, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TNT
Game 5* – Wednesday. May 1, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD 
Game 6* – Friday, May 3, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD 
Game 7* – Sunday, May 5, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD 

No. 2 San Antonio Spurs (58-24) vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers (45-37)

Game 1 – Sunday, April 21, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 3:30 p.m., ABC (Regional)
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 24, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Friday, April 26, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sunday, April 28, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5* – Tuesday, April 30, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD
Game 6* – Thursday, May 2, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, TBD
Game 7* – Saturday, May 4, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD 

No. 3 Denver Nuggets (57-25) vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors (47-35)

Game 1 – Saturday, April 20, Golden State at Denver, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Tuesday, April 23, Golden State at Denver, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Friday, April 26, Denver at Golden State, 10:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 – Sunday, April 28, Denver at Golden State, 9:30 p.m., TNT 
Game 5* – Tuesday, April 30, Golden State at Denver, TBD
Game 6* – Thursday, May 2, Denver at Golden State, TBD
Game 7* – Saturday, May 4, Golden State at Denver, TBD 

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies (56-26)

Game 1 – Saturday, April 20, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Monday, April 22, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Thursday, April 25, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Saturday, April 27, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5* – Tuesday, April 30, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 6* – Friday, May 3, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD
Game 7* – Sunday, May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD 

 

 

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