Sunday will feature two games to kick off the second round of the NBA playoffs, and both games are quite interesting. These four teams will each be looking to go up 1-0 to get off to a good start while trying to make a push to the conference finals.
Here we’ve provided where and when both games will be televised on Sunday, along with a preview of both games.
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
Game begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on ABC
Both of these teams hail from small-market areas, but they’ve both had very solid seasons. The Grizzlies finished with a 56-26 record, while the Thunder finished with a 60-22 record.
The Grizzlies continue to go under the radar year after year. This season, they’re finally looking to make it out of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Clippers ruined the Grizzlies' season last year, but Memphis was able to get revenge this year, beating L.A. in six games.
Meanwhile, the Thunder went six games against the Houston Rockets, despite being the top seed in the West. This was most likely due to the loss of Russell Westbrook, who will miss the rest of the playoffs due to a torn meniscus (h/t ESPN.com).
The absence of Westbrook raises a number of questions about the Thunder. They showed signs of struggle against the Rockets, but Reggie Jackson was able to fill in for Westbrook and hold his own.
The home-court advantage is always big for the Thunder, as their fans are always loud and rowdy. A win for the Thunder would be nice, but it would be a bigger win for the Grizzlies to steal one on the road.
The Grizzlies certainly have a shot to advance with the Thunder missing Westbrook, and they could potentially be heading to their first conference finals in franchise history.
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Game begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
It’s one of the more memorable rivalries in NBA history. Reggie Miller may not be with the Pacers anymore, but you can be sure that Spike Lee will be sitting courtside talking smack during the entire game.
Which team has the best shot at winning on Sunday?
These are two pretty different teams going head to head. The Knicks rely heavily on their stars in Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to take plenty of shots and control the game. Meanwhile, the Pacers play with a solid starting five that scores pretty evenly, but focuses more on its stifling defense.
The Pacers have slowly crept back into the top tier of the NBA over the past two seasons after a decade of incidents involving brawls, nightclub shootings and so much else. Now, they’re looking to advance to the conference finals and potentially give the Miami Heat a run for its money in the East.
The Knicks struggled for quite some time as well, but they have crept their way back up in the East thanks to superstar additions in Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. They will be looking to head to the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
Whoever advances, it’s certainly exciting to see this rivalry on a big stage. Be sure to look out for Spike Lee and his reactions after each game.