NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: When and Where to Catch Sunday's Round 1 Action

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2013

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Sunday marks the beginning of eight teams' journeys through the NBA playoffs with four series-opening games.

With superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden all in action on Sunday, you may want to just clear your schedule and remain parked on your couch all day.

The top two seeds in the Western Conference and the top seed in the Eastern Conference will all be in action. Read on for the information you need to catch all the action.  


Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks

When: Sunday, April 20, at 7 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT

Season Series: Heat 3-1

Storyline: Can Brandon Jennings back up the talk?

Given the Miami Heat's extremely strong run through the regular season, this series really doesn't have much intrigue.

That was the case until Brandon Jennings shook things up. Despite the long odds, the Bucks point guard said through the team's Twitter account that his team will win the series in six.

If Jennings wants to make his confident prediction a reality, pulling off the upset in Game 1 would be a big step in the right direction.

As much as you have to love that confidence, it's not likely that happens. The Heat finished the regular season 37-4 at home.

Prediction: Miami 100, Milwaukee 85


No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks

When: Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT

Season Series: 2-2

Storyline: Will homecourt advantage rule the day?

The Pacers are one of the few teams that could give the Miami Heat some trouble in the Eastern Conference. But they can't afford to look past this series with the Hawks first. In four regular-season meetings the home team won every game.

The series opens up in Indiana, and it will be important for the Pacers to ensure that they keep home-court advantage throughout the series.

With a physical, grinding style of play, staying healthy will be pivotal if the Pacers want to contend against the Heat. That means establishing themselves early as the superior team against the Hawks will be important.

Prediction: Indiana 90, Atlanta 87


Western Conference

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

When: Sunday, April 21, at 9:30 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT

Season Series: Thunder 2-1

Storyline: The Beard vs. Durant

It doesn't get much better than James Harden taking on his former team in Oklahoma City as far as Round 1 storylines go.

The former Thunder guard went from star sixth man to leading man for the Rockets. He's been especially potent against his former team. He's averaged 29.3 points per game in the three contests against the Thunder this season.

With Durant coming just short of the scoring title at 28.1 points per game, there's no question that both scorers will be lighting up the scoreboard. 

That said, Durant has the supporting cast to make a return to the NBA Finals. Harden's team just isn't there yet.

Prediction: Oklahoma City 110, Houston 95


No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

When: Sunday, April 21, at 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ABC

Season Series: Spurs 2-1

Storyline: Can the Lakers win without Kobe?

The playoffs have been when the Mamba really goes to work. All season the question with the Lakers has been if Kobe Bryant could lead an unlikely run through the playoffs after the regular-season struggles.

Now that Bryant is out for the playoffs with a torn Achilles, the burden falls directly on Dwight Howard to lead this team in the playoffs.

The Spurs aren't the most exciting team in the world, but Tim Duncan and Co. are once again one of the top teams in the Western Conference. San Antonio made a run to the Western Conference Finals last season and certainly has the tools to do it again.

Prediction: San Antonio 90, Los Angeles 85