The 2013-14 NBA regular season has reached its final day, and the 16 postseason contenders are looking to finish strong and build momentum ahead of the 2014 NBA playoffs.
The field has been set, but some of the matchups are still a mystery.
Below, we'll break down the updated playoff bracket heading into Wednesday's final regular-season slate of games and highlight where you can watch every round of the NBA playoffs this spring.
2014 NBA Playoff Bracket (as of Wednesday, April 16 at 8 a.m. ET)
|First Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
|(1) Indiana Pacers|
|(8) Atlanta Hawks|
|(4) Chicago Bulls|
|(5) Brooklyn Nets|
|(3) Toronto Raptors|
|(6) Washington Wizards|
|(2) Miami Heat|
|(7) Charlotte Bobcats|
|(1) San Antonio Spurs|
|(8) Memphis Grizzlies|
|(4) Houston Rockets|
|(5) Portland Trail Blazers|
|(3) Los Angeles Clippers|
|(6) Golden State Warriors|
|(2) Oklahoma City Thunder|
|(7) Dallas Mavericks|
*Bold indicates team locked into current seed. Standings via NBA.com.
|April 19 - May 4||First Round||ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, NBA TV, TNT|
|May 5-19||Conference Semifinals||ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT|
|May 20 - June 2||Conference Finals||ESPN, TNT|
|June 5-20||NBA Finals||ABC|
*subject to change; info via SportsMediaWatch.com
The 2014 NBA playoffs will tip off three days after the conclusion of the regular season. Four of the eight first-round playoff series will tip off on Saturday, while the other four will begin Sunday.
Former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson speaks for every NBA fan when he says he can't wait for the opening tip this weekend:
I can't wait for the start of the NBA Playoffs Saturday, where we get to witness greatness and where superstars play like superstars.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 15, 2014
Saturday's postseason action will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN, according to Sports Media Watch. Meanwhile, a majority of Sunday's coverage will air on TNT. First-round action will continue on those networks through early May, with NBA TV and ESPN2 likely broadcasting several games as well.
By Monday, May 5, all four conference semifinal series will be underway, but some could start as early as Saturday, May 3 or Sunday, May 4 depending on how the first round shakes out.
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and TNT will provide coverage throughout the conference semifinals.
The two conference finals series will be underway by Wednesday, May 21. If the conference semifinal series wrap up sooner than anticipated, potential move-up dates are scheduled for Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19.
ESPN will broadcast the Eastern Conference Finals, and TNT will air the Western Conference Finals.
Once the field is narrowed down to two teams, the NBA Finals will tip off on Thursday, June 5 and run through Friday, June 20 if all seven games are required. ABC will broadcast the NBA Finals games, which are set to air in prime time.
One notable change to keep in mind is that the NBA Finals will switch from a 2-3-2 format to a 2-2-1-1-1 format this year to mimic the first three rounds of the playoffs. As a result, both teams would have an extra day off prior to a potential Game 7.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the reason for the change prior to the start of the season, via NBA.com: "There certainly was a perception...it was unfair to the team that had the better record, that it was then playing the pivotal Game 5 on the road. So this obviously moves that game back to giving home-court advantage to the team with the better record if it's a 2-2 series."
There's no doubt that the format change makes sense. Not only does the new format fall in line with the rest of the playoffs and allow the team with the better record to play a pivotal Game 5 at home, but it also allows the other team a chance to potentially force a Game 7 at home rather than having to win two in a row on the road.
If the 2014 NBA Finals are anything like last year's dramatic series between Miami and San Antonio, NBA fans will be in for a treat.
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