While a few other factors outside of the action off the court has stolen some of the spotlight away, the NBA playoffs have been spectacular thus far.
Whether it's the phenomenal series taking place out West between several championship contenders or a handful of surprisingly competitive matchups in the East, there have been a plethora of intriguing games already.
After a rough stretch at the end of the season, the Indiana Pacers are once again struggling in the opening round as the No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors are showing they both have what it takes to make a run in their conferences.
As the first round is slowly winding down, here's a look at the viewing information and a breakdown for some of the best series. The full playoff schedule can be viewed at NBA.com.
Mon. April 28, Atlanta at Indiana, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Thu. May 1, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD
Sat. May 3, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TNT
Wed. April 30, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD
Fri. May 2, Toronto at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD
Sun. May 4, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD
Tue. April 29, Washington at Chicago, TBD, TBD
Thu. May 1, Chicago at Washington, TBD, TBD
Sat. May 3, Washington at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Wed. April 30, Dallas at San Antonio, TBD, TBD
Fri. May 2, San Antonio at Dallas, TBD, TBD
Sun. May 4, Dallas at San Antonio, TBD, TBD
Tue. April 29, Memphis at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD
Thu. May 1, Oklahoma City at Memphis, TBD, TBD
Sat. May 3, Memphis at Oklahoma City, TBD, TNT
Tue. April 29, Golden State at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD
Thu. May 1, L.A. Clippers at Golden State, TBD, TBD
Sat. May 3, Golden State at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TNT
Wed. April 30, Portland at Houston, TBD, TBD
Fri. May 2, Houston at Portland, TBD, TBD
Sun. May 4, Portland at Houston, TBD, TBD
NBA Playoffs Breakdown
When it comes to nail-biting series, there is no better example than the one currently being played between the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. Three of the four games have gone to overtime, with the Blazers coming out on top each time extra basketball is played.
With the series heading back to Houston, there's really no guarantee that Portland can clinch the series. But thanks to the play of one man, LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers have dominated the matchup thus far.
Aldridge's start to the series with two consecutive 40-point games and even more production in the last two games has put him in some pretty elite company, as NBA on TNT points out:
Across from Aldridge stands Dwight Howard, who spurned the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason to form an athletic duo with James Harden. Though his production has been phenomenal (27 points, 14.3 rebounds per game), his defensive performances against Aldridge have led to the big man putting on a show.
Howard spoke about his opponent's outstanding play during the postseason thus far, per For the Win:
Dwight Howard says the only way to stop LaMarcus Aldridge is to 'give him bad food' http://t.co/cp9W9FxT4a— For The Win (@ForTheWin) April 25, 2014
Both the Blazers and Rockets are knotted up in a battle of wills, but two series in the East have been especially surprising from the start.
The Toronto Raptors came into the postseason without a lot of fanfare but have proved worthy of their ranking so far. A 2-2 tie with the battle-tested Brooklyn Nets has opened some eyes.
So have the ratings for the most recent battle between the two teams in Game 4, per TSN PR:
Along with the Raptors changing an entire country's interest from hockey to basketball, the Atlanta Hawks are currently shaking up the league by taking a 2-2 tie back to Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers.
Much of the Hawks' success midway through the series has been thanks to Jeff Teague. The 25-year-old accomplished something that hasn't been done in nearly three decades recently, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Jeff Teague: 1st Hawks player with 20 ps and 10 assists in a playoff game since Spud Webb in 1986— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 25, 2014
With many of the series coming down to the wire in the opening round, this excitement will likely be sustained throughout the playoffs.
Teams like the Pacers and Nets still have hopes of righting the ship, but time is running out as both of their opponents are hungry to prove their worth in the postseason. It's just the start of the playoffs, but the roller coaster ride is clearly going to be a great one throughout May as well.
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