NBA Playoffs 2014: Championship Odds, Postseason Schedule and More

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NBA Playoffs 2014: Championship Odds, Postseason Schedule and More
Michael Conroy

Take a step back and catch your breath. The NBA regular season is over and the playoffs are officially upon us. 

As ridiculous and unpredictable as the regular season was, the postseason is expected to be much of the same. With several surprise teams like the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies putting together a great second half of the season to make it to the second season, anything appears to be possible.

Then there's the top seeds in the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, two completely different teams but both with championship aspirations. While the two teams are heading in completely opposite directions heading into the playoffs, both have the talent to square off in the NBA Finals.

But in order for any team to reach the finals in the Eastern Conference, it'll have to go through the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. After their own stumbles heading in, nobody is doubting how lethal the Heat can be in the clutch.

With the schedule set, here's a look at the championship odds, schedule and a breakdown of the best teams heading into the playoffs.

2014 NBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Miami Heat 19-10
San Antonio Spurs 3-1
Oklahoma City Thunder 19-5
Indiana Pacers 8-1
Los Angeles Clippers 10-1
Houston Rockets 30-1
Brooklyn Nets 35-1
Chicago Bulls 45-1
Portland Blazers 50-1
Golden State Warriors 60-1
Memphis Grizzlies 85-1
Toronto Raptors 100-1
Dallas Mavericks 120-1
Washington Wizards 150-1
Charlotte Bobcats 200-1
Atlanta Hawks 950-1

Vegas Insider

 

Eastern Conference Schedule

No. 1 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 8 Atlanta Hawks

Game 1: Saturday April 19, Atlanta at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2: Tuesday April 22, Atlanta at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3: Thursday April 24, Indiana at Atlanta, 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 4: Saturday April 26, Indiana at Atlanta, 2 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 5: Monday April 28, Atlanta at Indiana, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 6: Thursday May 1, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD

Game 7: Saturday May 3, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TNT

 

No. 2 Miami Heat vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats

Game 1: Sunday April 20, Charlotte at Miami, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2: Wednesday April 23, Charlotte at Miami, 7 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 3: Saturday April 26, Miami at Charlotte, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4: Monday April 28, Miami at Charlotte, 7 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 5: Wednesday April 30, Charlotte at Miami, TBD, TBD 

Game 6: Friday May 2, Miami at Charlotte, TBD, TBD 

Game 7: Sunday May 4, Charlotte at Miami, TBD, TBD

 

No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 4 Brooklyn Nets

Game 1: Saturday April 19, Brooklyn at Toronto, 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2: Tuesday April 22, Brooklyn at Toronto, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 3: Friday April 25, Toronto at Brooklyn, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 

Game 4: Sunday April 27, Toronto at Brooklyn, 7 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 5: Wednesday April 30, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD 

Game 6: Friday May 2, Toronto at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD 

Game 7: Sunday May 4, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD

 

No. 4 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards

Game 1: Sunday April 20, Washington at Chicago, 7 p.m., TNT

Game 2: Tuesday April 22, Washington at Chicago, 9:30 p.m., TNT 

Game 3: Friday April 25, Chicago at Washington, 8 p.m., ESPN 

Game 4: Sunday April 27, Chicago at Washington, 1 p.m., ABC 

Game 5: Tuesday April 29, Washington at Chicago, TBD, TBD 

Game 6: Thursday May 1, Chicago at Washington, TBD, TBD 

Game 7: Saturday May 3, Washington at Chicago, TBD, TNT

 

Western Conference Schedule

No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 8 Dallas Mavericks

Game 1: Sunday April 20, Dallas at San Antonio, 12:00 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2: Wednesday April 23, Dallas at San Antonio, 7:00 p.m. ET NBA, TV 

Game 3: Saturday April 26, San Antonio at Dallas, 3:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 4: Monday April 28, San Antonio at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 5: Wednesday April 30, Dallas at San Antonio TBD TBD 

Game 6: Friday May 2, San Antonio at Dallas TBD TBD 

Game 7: Sunday May 4, Dallas at San Antonio TBD TBD

 

No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies

Game 1: Saturday April 19, Memphis at Oklahoma City, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 

Game 2: Monday April 21, Memphis at Oklahoma City, 7:00 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 3: Thursday April 24, Oklahoma City at Memphis, 7:00 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 4: Saturday April 26, Oklahoma City at Memphis, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 

Game 5: Tuesday April 29, Memphis at Oklahoma City TBD TBD 

Game 6: Thursday May 1, Oklahoma City at Memphis TBD TBD 

Game 7: Saturday May 3, Memphis at Oklahoma City TBD TNT

 

No. 3 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors

Game 1: Saturday April 19, Golden State at L.A. Clippers, 12:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2: Monday April 21, Golden State at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 3: Thursday April 24, L.A. Clippers at Golden State, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 4: Sunday April 27, L.A. Clippers at Golden State, 12:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 5: Tuesday April 29, Golden State at L.A. Clippers TBD TBD 

Game 6: Thursday May 1, L.A. Clippers at Golden State TBD TBD 

Game 7: Saturday May 3, Golden State at L.A. Clippers TBD TBD TNT

 

No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers

Game 1: Sunday April 20, Portland at Houston, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 2: Wednesday April 23, Portland at Houston, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 3: Friday April 25, Houston at Portland, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4: Sunday April 27, Houston at Portland, 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT 

Game 5: Wednesday April 30, Portland at Houston TBD TBD 

Game 6: Friday May 2, Houston at Portland TBD TBD 

Game 7: Sunday May 4, Portland at Houston TBD TBD

 

NBA Playoff Favorites

Was there ever any doubt that the Heat would be the favorite heading into the postseason for a third straight year?

With a cast of superstars that fans love or love to hate, the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be at the top of their games again at the right time. Any concerns over Wade's health can be silenced heading in as he spoke about where he's at currently, per Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald:

Time off always helps, but you still got to focus on it. So by the time the playoffs come, I can feel as good as I want to feel … right now I’m in a good place, and I just want to continue to move forward.

I’ve been going pretty strong. My game-day workouts are pretty intense. When we get to the playoffs, I’ll take it down a notch. … More so than anything, I want to be able to have enough conditioning to be able to do the things on the floor I need offensively and defensively to give this team the player that they need.

Once again, the Heat will look to run the table. But this season might not be as easy with the likes of the Spurs and Pacers both looking for revenge after being ousted by Miami last season.

Though the Pacers struggled mightily to close out the season, they still have a wealth of talented players all over the court. Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson all on the court is a deadly combination for any team to deal with.

George Hill spoke about his team's depth at the end of the season, per the Pacers' official Twitter account:

If there is one team that is the exact opposite of the Pacers, it's the Spurs. The old men in San Antonio just continue to get better year after year and have sustained success better than any franchise in the last several decades.

Unlike Indiana, San Antonio is a franchise used to success and it shows in the playoffs. Since the arrival of Tim Duncan 17 seasons ago, the team has put together a 50-win season nearly every year—the one abberation was during the lockout in 1998-99—as Brad Buchhorn noted on Twitter a few weeks ago (via News 4 in San Antonio):

The old saying goes, "Act like you've been there before." Well, the Spurs and Heat have both been to the top of the mountain in recent years.

With the season boiling down to just a few series to determine the NBA champions, the title is in any team's grasp. Now it just comes down to which team steps up when it's all on the line.

 

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