The dream to become this year's NBA champions lives on for 16 teams.
Upon the conclusion of the regular season, each team is now locked into a seed and Round 1 playoff matchups are set.
As it turns out, there are plenty of enticing series set to take place early in the postseason. The highly anticipated action is just around the corner, so let's break down the full Round 1 schedule and highlight the top matchups to watch.
2014 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Schedule
|Matchup||Game 1 Date||Game 1 Time (ET)||TV Info|
|No. 1 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 8 Atlanta Hawks||Sat., April 19||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 4 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards||Sun., April 20||7 p.m.||TNT|
|No. 2 Miami Heat vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats||Sun., April 20||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets||Sat., April 19||12:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 8 Dallas Mavericks||Sun., April 20||1 p.m.||TNT|
|No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Portland Trailblazers||Sun., April 20||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies||Sat., April 19||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors||Sat., April 19||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
The full playoff bracket can be viewed on NBAPlayoffsBracket.com.
The entire Round 1 viewing information can be viewed on WashingtonPost.com.
Matchups to Watch
No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
The Raptors have been playing some great basketball this season; however, this team is officially on upset alert.
Even though these teams split their regular-season series at two games each, it's been the Nets that have looked far more dominant of late.
The Nets' starters have combined for 381 playoff starts. No starter on the Raptors has even one. http://t.co/OPo5DBZ85f— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) April 18, 2014
Once the new year rolled around, the Nets became a different team. The increased use of guards created matchup nightmares for opposing teams. This allowed the Nets to hit from the perimeter while pulling opposing big men away from underneath.
The last time these teams faced off, Toronto had a difficult time covering Brooklyn effectively during the Nets' 101-97 victory.
Expect plenty more of the same during this series.
No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors
This matchup certainly has a must-see TV billing.
The star power, the bad blood and the history between these two teams will surely make for an entertaining series that could possibly come down to seven games.
Warriors’ Klay Thompson calls out Blake Griffin’s flopping: http://t.co/dXGES2SXQI— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 17, 2014
Stephen Curry is one of the scariest players in the entire league. His ability to score in transition and from anywhere on the court makes him a huge factor in this series for the Warriors.
Los Angeles can get it done from everywhere. From the prowess of Blake Griffin down low to the versatility of Chris Paul and the perimeter shooting of J.J. Redick, this is one team boasting an all-star cast.
With all of these factors taken into consideration, expect this series to go the distance with no clear-cut winner until the bitter end.
No. 4 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards
Despite Chicago owning the better season record, the Wizards hold a 2-1 record against the Bulls this season.
However, the last time these two teams faced off on April 5, the Bulls came to play. Chicago earned a decisive 96-78 victory to prevent a season sweep.
The Wizards have a well-rounded team, with John Wall and Bradley Beal comprising a high-octane backcourt. Washington can bring it to the paint as well and score from the wing with a talented frontcourt.
A little surprised only 1 person picked Wiz here: http://t.co/ij5WjZO046— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 17, 2014
Now that the Bulls have finally gained an offensive identity—their offense is geared more around Joakim Noah's ball distribution—scoring opportunities have become more plentiful, even without Derrick Rose on the court.
Washington will certainly attempt to create a fast-paced series and go for a shootout-type win. The Bulls will need to combat that with some methodical offense and create good looks for their scorers.
It will be interesting to see which team controls the pace throughout this series.