2014 NBA Playoff Bracket: Final Postseason Picture and Round 1 TV Schedule

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2014 NBA Playoff Bracket: Final Postseason Picture and Round 1 TV Schedule
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The 2014 NBA playoff field has been set, as the regular season drew to a close on Wednesday. Several matchups were determined at the 11th hour, shaking up the postseason picture while ending the suspense as to which teams will square off in the opening round.

Before the best squads rise to the top and it's determined whether or not the Miami Heat can pull off a three-peat, there should be plenty of captivating action to soak in.

One of the best Round 1 matchups was determined by the Brooklyn Nets' loss in Cleveland in the regular-season finale. That bumped the Washington Wizards up to the fifth seed, as they prepare to take on the Chicago Bulls.

As deep as the Western Conference is with seven 50-win teams qualifying for the postseason, what's likely to be the best series in that cluster is between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.

Here is a look at the complete TV schedule for the first round, along with breakdowns of the two best series this maiden stage of the playoffs has to offer.

Note: For full playoff bracket, visit ESPN.com.

 

2014 NBA Playoffs Round 1 TV Schedule
Saturday, April 19 Time (ET) Network
(6) Brooklyn at (3) Toronto 12:30 p.m. ESPN
(6) Golden State at (3) LA Clippers 3:30 p.m. ABC
(8) Atlanta at (1) Indiana 7 p.m. ESPN
(7) Memphis at (2) Oklahoma City 9:30 p.m. ESPN
Sunday, April 20 Time (ET) Network
(8) Dallas at (1) San Antonio 1 p.m. TNT
(7) Charlotte at (2) Miami 3:30 p.m. ABC
(5) Washington at (4) Chicago 7 p.m. TNT
(5) Portland at (4) Houston 9:30 p.m. TNT
Monday, April 21 Time (ET) Network
(7) Memphis at (2) Oklahoma City 8 p.m. TNT
(6) Golden State at (3) LA Clippers 10:30 p.m. TNT
Tuesday, April 22 Time (ET) Network
(8) Atlanta at (1) Indiana 7 p.m. TNT
(6) Brooklyn at (3) Toronto 8 p.m. NBATV
(5) Washington at (4) Chicago 9:30 p.m. TNT
Wednesday, April 23 Time (ET) Network
(7) Charlotte at (2) Miami 7 p.m. TNT
(8) Dallas at (1) San Antonio 8 p.m. NBATV
(5) Portland at (4) Houston 9:30 p.m. TNT
Thursday, April 24 Time (ET) Network
(1) Indiana at (8) Atlanta 7 p.m. NBATV
(2) Oklahoma City at (7) Memphis 8 p.m. TNT
(3) LA Clippers at (6) Golden State 10:30 p.m. TNT
Friday, April 25 Time (ET) Network
(3) Toronto at (6) Brooklyn 7 p.m. ESPN2
(4) Chicago at (5) Washington 8 p.m. ESPN
(4) Houston at (5) Portland 10:30 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, April 26 Time (ET) Network
(1) Indiana at (8) Atlanta 2 p.m. TNT
(1) San Antonio at (8) Dallas 4:30 p.m. TNT
(2) Miami at (7) Charlotte 7 p.m. ESPN
(2) Oklahoma City at (7) Memphis 9:30 p.m. ESPN
Sunday, April 27 Time (ET) Network
(4) Chicago at (5) Washington 1 p.m. ABC
(3) LA Clippers at (6) Golden State 3:30 p.m. ABC
(3) Toronto at (6) Brooklyn 7 p.m. TNT
(4) Houston at (5) Portland 9:30 p.m. TNT
Monday, April 28 Time (ET) Network
(2) Miami at (7) Charlotte 7 p.m. TNT
(8) Atlanta at (1) Indiana 8 p.m. NBATV
(1) San Antonio at (8) Dallas 9:30 p.m. TNT
Tuesday, April 29 Time (ET) Network
(5) Washington at (4) Chicago TBD TBD
(7) Memphis at (2) Oklahoma City TBD TBD
(6) Golden State at (3) LA Clippers TBD TBD
Wednesday, April 30 Time (ET) Network
(7) Charlotte at (2) Miami TBD TBD
(6) Brooklyn at (3) Toronto TBD TBD
(5) Portland at (4) Houston TBD TBD
(8) Dallas at (1) San Antonio TBD TBD
Thursday, May 1 Time (ET) Network
(1) Indiana at (8) Atlanta TBD TBD
(4) Chicago at (5) Washington TBD TBD
(2) Oklahoma City at (7) Memphis TBD TBD
(3) LA Clippers at (6) Golden State TBD TBD
Friday, May 2 Time (ET) Network
(2) Miami at (7) Charlotte TBD TBD
(3) Toronto at (6) Brooklyn TBD TBD
(1) San Antonio at (8) Dallas TBD TBD
(4) Houston at (5) Portland TBD TBD
Saturday, May 3 Time (ET) Network
8) Atlanta at (1) Indiana TBD TBD
(5) Washington at (4) Chicago TBD TBD
(7) Memphis at (2) Oklahoma City TBD TBD
(6) Golden State at (3) LA Clippers TBD TBD
Sunday, May 4 Time (ET) Network
(6) Brooklyn at (3) Toronto TBD TBD
(7) Charlotte at (2) Miami TBD TBD
(8) Dallas at (1) San Antonio TBD TBD
(5) Portland at (4) Houston TBD TBD

Source: SportsMediaWatch.com

 

Breaking Down Best Round 1 Matchups

East: Chicago Bulls (4) vs. Washington Wizards (5)

Ned Dishman/Getty Images

The outstanding, young duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal will deservedly garner a ton of attention as they make their playoff debuts, but that could overshadow a big reason why Washington should contend in this series.

Although Wall and Beal are explosive offensively, what has helped the Wizards into the postseason for the first time since 2007-08 has been defense. Washington has yielded less than 100 points per contest, aided by the athleticism of swingman Trevor Ariza and capable frontcourt defenders in Nene Hilario, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Booker.

Michael Lee of The Washington Post noted how critical Nene was in both regular-season triumphs over Chicago:

With how experienced the Bulls are and the screws that coach Tom Thibodeau puts down on the defensive end, something will have to give in this battle. At least Chicago has home-court advantage to compensate for what should be a disadvantage in terms of scoring points.

Comcast SportsNet's Michael Jenkins noted the simple, but brilliant mentality Thibodeau's counterpart in Randy Wittman has entering what should be a bruising, physical battle:

In addition to having an edge in the backcourt, Washington has enough bodies up front to pound it inside, have an X-factor in the all-purpose Ariza and the arrival of Drew Gooden has added even more depth up front.

All those elements considered, all signs point to the Wizards' young leaders and playoff newcomers in Wall and Beal leading the squad to victory in six games.

Prediction: Wizards in six.

 

West: Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)

Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

The coaching battle between the Clippers' Doc Rivers and Golden State's Mark Jackson should be excellent. This series also features two of the best nicknames in basketball: Lob City for L.A. and the Splash Brothers in reference to the Warriors' guard tandem of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Chris Paul doing battle one-on-one with Curry should be the most compelling individual matchup. It will take an extraordinary effort from Curry to push Golden State past the Clippers, though, especially as the lower seed.

Warriors center Andrew Bogut is such a difference-maker on defense when he's in the lineup. Now he has a rib fracture and is out indefinitely, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Bogut won't want any part of banging bodies with the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin with tender ribs. That is arguably the most dynamic, athletic center-power forward duo in the Association, and Jordan has stepped up as a force to be reckoned with on defense that will hamper Curry's ability to get to the bucket.

But the likes of Harrison Barnes and Jordan Crawford proved in Golden State's season-ending win over Denver that perhaps they can be strong postseason contributors, per GSWStats:

Barnes was a star in the playoffs in 2013, averaging 16.1 points in 12 games—all starts. He's struggled to find a role in his second NBA season, but now he should have an opportunity to get into more of a rhythm and emulate that level of play.

Which Round 1 series are you most looking forward to?

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Prediction: Warriors in seven.

While the winner of the Bulls-Wizards series has a legitimate chance to knock off the East's top-seeded Indiana Pacers, who looked shaky towards the end of the 2013-14 campaign, the same can't be said for the victor of the Clippers-Warriors duel. Barring an unforeseen upset, the Oklahoma City Thunder would await in the conference semifinals. The top-seeded San Antonio Spurs appear the only squad capable of striking down the Thunder.

This is the NBA postseason, and just about anything can happen in a seven-game series. Having said that, the league landscape does seem top-heavy. That's why basketball enthusiasts can appreciate the first round—to see if any of the second-tier teams can rise up and play the role of legitimate title contender.

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