A plethora of stunning results and jaw-dropping individual performances have the 2014 NBA playoffs off to an exciting start. But with nearly two months left to go before a champion is crowned, there's a whole lot of action still left for fans to take in.
Let's take a look at the upcoming television schedule and what the postseason bracket looks like heading into the playoffs' second weekend.
|2014 NBA Playoff TV Schedule - First Round|
|Fri, April 25||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 3: Raptors at Nets||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 3: Bulls at Wizards||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game 3: Rockets at Trail Blazers||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat, April 26||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 4: Pacers at Hawks||2 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 3: Spurs at Mavericks||4:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 3: Heat at Bobcats||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game 4: Thunder at Grizzlies||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sun, April 27||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 4: Bulls at Wizards||1 p.m.||ABC|
|Game 4: Clippers at Warriors||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Game 4: Raptors at Nets||7 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 4: Rockets at Trail Blazers||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Mon, April 28||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 4: Heat at Bobcats||7 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 5: Hawks at Pacers||8 p.m.||NBATV|
|Game 4: Spurs at Mavericks||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Tue, April 29||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 5: Grizzlies at Thunder||TBD||TBD|
|Game 5: Wizards at Bulls*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 5: Warriors at Clippers||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Wed, April 30||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 5: Mavericks at Spurs||TBD||TBD|
|Game 5: Bobcats at Heat*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 5: Nets at Raptors||TBD||TBD|
|Game 5: Trail Blazers at Rockets*||TBD||TBD|
|Thu, May 1||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 6: Pacers at Hawks*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Thunder at Grizzlies*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Clippers at Warriors*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Bulls at Wizards*||TBD||TBD|
|Fri, May 2||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 6: Spurs at Mavericks*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Heat at Bobcats*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Raptors at Nets*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6: Rockets at Trail Blazers*||TBD||TBD|
|Sat, May 3||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 7: Hawks at Pacers*||TBD||TNT|
|Game 7: Grizzlies at Thunder*||TBD||TNT|
|Game 7: Warriors at Clippers*||TBD||TNT|
|Game 7: Wizards at Bulls*||TBD||TNT|
|Sun, May 4||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV|
|Game 7: Mavericks at Spurs*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 7: Bobcats at Heat*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 7: Nets at Raptors*||TBD||TBD|
|Game 7: Trail Blazers at Rockets*||TBD||TBD|
|*if necessary. Info via NBA.com|
2014 NBA Playoff Bracket (as of Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. ET)
|First Round||Conf. Semis||Conf. Finals||NBA Finals|
|(1) Indiana Pacers|
|(8) Atlanta Hawks (Lead 2-1)|
|(4) Chicago Bulls|
|(5) Washington Wizards (Lead 2-0)|
|(3) Toronto Raptors (Tied 1-1)|
|(6) Brooklyn Nets|
|(2) Miami Heat (Lead 2-0)|
|(7) Charlotte Bobcats|
|(1) San Antonio Spurs (Tied 1-1)|
|(8) Dallas Mavericks|
|(4) Houston Rockets|
|(5) Portland Trail Blazers (Lead 2-0)|
|(3) Los Angeles Clippers (Lead 2-1)|
|(6) Golden State Warriors|
|(2) Oklahoma City Thunder|
|(7) Memphis Grizzlies (Lead 2-1)|
What to Watch for on Friday
Raptors and Nets Battle for 2-1 Edge
In a series that has featured plenty of trash talk (noted by CNN host and reporter Rachel Nichols), horrid offensive execution and a pair of close finishes, the Brooklyn Nets will welcome the division rival Toronto Raptors into the Barclays Center on Friday night for Game 3 as they look to maintain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead.
The Raptors—hoping to overcome their lack of postseason experience to reach the conference semifinals for the first time since 2001—bounced back to win Game 2 but must find an answer for the Nets' defense on the road this weekend in order to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole.
Toronto is averaging just 93.5 points per game in this series while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and just 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. Brooklyn is slightly worse in both shooting categories but has been successful by avoiding turnovers. While the Nets are averaging just 9.5 turnovers per game this postseason, the Raptors are averaging roughly 20 per game.
That number also explains how the series is tied despite Toronto boasting a plus-30 advantage on the boards through two games.
The Nets offense will be much improved in Games 3 and 4 in Brooklyn as role players tend to play better at home, so it'll be up to the Raptors to reduce their turnover count and earn more than the 74.5 field-goal attempts they are averaging in these playoffs.
Wizards, Trail Blazers Eye Commanding 3-0 Series Leads
Both the Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers achieved the unthinkable earlier this week, winning Games 1 and 2 of their respective series on the road to take 2-0 leads back home with a chance to close out their first-round series.
As ESPN Stats & Info points out, both teams are sitting pretty ahead of Friday's Game 3 showdowns:
The Wizards have taken advantage of the Bulls' lack of a go-to scorer thus far and show no signs of slowing down offensively as the series shifts to the nation's capital.
Washington is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor through two games—which ranks third best in these playoffs behind the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat—and is getting 40 points per game from Nene and Bradley Beal.
Meanwhile, the Blazers have held Rockets star James Harden in check and have received overwhelming production from LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 44.5 points per game in two playoff wins. After Game 2, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale acknowledged that Aldridge had the answer for everything Houston threw at him, via SI.com's Ben Golliver:
We tried changing it up tonight. The first game he got in the paint and wore us out. Tonight he was picking and popping and moving. We were having a hard time running people at him. We were trying to get the ball out of his hands.
While one has to believe Aldridge will cool off eventually, the Rockets will have very little hope of getting back in this series if they can't start sinking their threes.
Houston is a combined 11-of-51 from deep as a team through two games, and that won't get it done against a team as potent offensively as Portland.
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