The 2014 NBA playoffs start up again on Wednesday evening, with three pivotal matchups that could end up swinging their respective series.
Whether you plan to watch all three, cherry pick one that interests you the most or are just looking to catch up on what the current playoff bracket looks like, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for a peek at the television information for the opening round of the NBA playoffs, plus a complete viewing guide to Wednesday night’s showdowns.
The NBA Playoffs have finally arrived. Here's a helpful guide for your next two months. pic.twitter.com/MEgJYK0aVs— ESPN (@espn) April 17, 2014
|4/20||(1) Spurs 90, (8) Mavericks 85||Noon||TNT|
|4/23||(8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs||8 p.m.||NBATV|
|4/26||(1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks||3:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/28||(1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks||8:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/30||(8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs||TBD||TBD|
|5/2||(1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks||TBD||TBD|
|5/4||(8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs||TBD||TBD|
|4/19||(2) Thunder 100, (7) Grizzlies 86||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/21||(7) Grizzlies 111, (2) Thunder 105||8 p.m.||TNT|
|4/24||(2) Thunder vs. (7) Grizzlies||8 p.m.||TNT|
|4/26||(2) Thunder vs. (7) Grizzlies||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/29||(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder||TBD||TBD|
|5/1||(2) Thunder vs. Grizzlies||TBD||TBD|
|5/3||(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder||TBD||TNT|
|4/19||(6) Warriors 109, (3) Clippers 105||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|4/21||(3) Clippers 138, (6) Warriors 98||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/24||(3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/27||(3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|4/29||(6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|5/1||(3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors||TBD||TBD|
|5/3||(6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers||TBD||TNT|
|4/20||(5) Trail Blazers 122, (4) Rockets 120||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/23||(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/25||(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/27||(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/30||(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets||TBD||TBD|
|5/2||(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers||TBD||TBD|
|5/4||(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets||TBD||TBD|
|4/19||(8) Hawks 101, (1) Pacers 93||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/22||(1) Pacers 101, (8) Hawks 85||7 p.m.||TNT|
|4/24||(1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks||7 p.m.||NBATV|
|4/26||(1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks||2 p.m.||TNT|
|4/28||(8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers||8 p.m.||NBATV|
|5/1||(1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks||TBD||TBD|
|5/3||(8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers||TBD||TNT|
|4/20||(2) Heat 99, (7) Bobcats 88||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|4/23||(7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat||7 p.m.||TNT|
|4/26||(2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/28||(2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats||7 p.m.||TNT|
|4/30||(7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat||TBD||TBD|
|5/2||(2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats||TBD||TBD|
|5/4||(7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat||TBD||ABC|
|4/19||(6) Nets 94, (3) Raptors 87||12:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/22||(3) Raptors 100, (6) Nets 85||8 p.m.||NBATV|
|4/25||(3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets||7 p.m.||ESPN 2|
|4/27||(3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets||7 p.m.||TNT|
|4/30||(6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors||TBD||TBD|
|5/2||(3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets||TBD||TBD|
|5/4||(6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors||TBD||TBD|
|4/20||(5) Wizards 102, (4) Bulls 93||7 p.m.||TNT|
|4/22||(5) Wizards 101, (4) Bulls 99||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4/25||(4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|4/27||(4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards||1 p.m.||ABC|
|4/29||(5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls||TBD||TBD|
|5/1||(4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards||TBD||TBD|
|5/3||(5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls||TBD||TNT|
Wednesday Night Viewing Guide
Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat, 7 p.m. ET on TNT
This series was lopsided from the start, but now appears to be an inevitable Heat sweep with little in the way of excitement. Charlotte’s top player, Al Jefferson, went down with a foot injury during Game 1. It appears that the superstar will have to play at limited effectiveness for the second contest in this best-of-seven series.
The latest news comes courtesy of Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, who posted a picture of Big Al entering the AmericanAirlines Arena in a walking boot:
NBA star in walking boot arrives. pic.twitter.com/CIRUz9k8UD— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 23, 2014
Jefferson was confident that he will be able overcome the plantar fascia injury and participate in the game, as per Bonnell:
"It's responding really well. I should be good for tonight." -- Al Jefferson— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 23, 2014
If he does, Chris Bosh says the Heat will game-plan for the skilled big man as if he were 100 percent healthy, as per Bonnell:
"We've got to treat him like he's 100 percent." -- Chris Bosh on Al Jefferson.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 23, 2014
However, the odds of him playing are still to be determined. Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford said it would be a game-time decision, as per Bonnell:
"I don't think we'll really know until the game starts." -- Steve Clifford on the reality of Al Jefferson's status tonight.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 23, 2014
Even with a fully healthy Jefferson, the ‘Cats would struggle to beat the Heat at home. The team is desperate to move past this series as quickly as possible, conserving as much energy and staying healthy to increase its chances at a fourth consecutive Finals appearance and third straight victory.
Don’t be surprised if LeBron James explodes for a huge outing against the limited Bobcats here, pacing his team to a double-digit victory.
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs, 8 p.m. ET on NBATV
The Mavs played a strong Game 1 against the Spurs, but their lack of defensive prowess ultimately cost them against the West’s top seed.
Dallas is hoping to steal one on the road before the series returns to its part of Texas, taking away San Antonio’s home court advantage and making this a competitive series.
The likelihood of that happening is low, considering the Spurs proved time and time again that they are the better team in this matchup. They claimed all four regular-season meetings and added a fifth victory over the Mavs to start their trek back to the Finals—pushing their overall streak against their in-state rivals to 10 straight.
Credit the Spurs defense for this dominance, as they held Dallas’ top scorers, Monte Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki, to just 22 total points to start the series.
Nowitzki said he isn’t trying to overthink his troubling 4-of-14 shooting performance in the opening game, telling Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press (via ESPN):
You don't want to go completely crazy and just hoist everything you see because some of those shots are contested. They've got to be within the flow and within the rhythm of the game.
It’ll be interesting to see how Nowitzki responds on Wednesday. While the Mavs may not win this one, they should be able to claim a win or two at home to keep their slim hopes alive a tad longer.
Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
This should be one of the most intriguing games on tap for the evening, as the Blazers look to go up 2-0 on the road against a Rockets squad that must bounce back from a heartbreaking defeat.
Which team will win Game 2?
Portland rode a combined 77 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to victory, the first pair of teammates to score 45 and 30, respectively, since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did with the Bulls back in 1992.
The Blazers also fought back from a 10-point deficit with just under four minutes remaining, showing that this team has heart and will be tougher than expected to oust from the postseason.
According to SportsCenter, Houston star Dwight Howard plans to be more active in this second contest and will demand the ball so that his squad can work from the inside out:
Dwight Howard says Rockets have to play inside out, forcing Blazers' big men to work harder. » pic.twitter.com/mxM9O6S9Jy— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 22, 2014
Whether the strategy is successful or not remains to be seen, but it should be an epic battle that may even need overtime once again to decide.