If the second round of the NBA playoffs can deliver anywhere near the excitement of the first round, fans are in for a true treat.
The opening stanza of the Association's postseason featured five Game 7s and three lower seeds advancing. With a myriad of intriguing matchups on tap for Round 2, things won't get any easier for teams looking to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch all the games in the second round:
|1||Clippers at Thunder||May 5||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|2||Clippers at Thunder||May 7||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|3||Thunder at Clippers||May 9||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Thunder at Clippers||May 11||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|5*||Clippers at Thunder||May 13||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Thunder at Clippers||May 15||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Clippers at Thunder||May 18||TBD||TNT|
|1||Blazers at Spurs||May 6||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|2||Blazers at Spurs||May 8||9:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|3||Spurs at Blazers||May 10||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Spurs at Blazers||May 12||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Blazers at Spurs||May 14||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Spurs at Blazers||May 16||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Blazers at Spurs||May 19||TBD||TNT|
|1||Wizards at Pacers||May 5||7 p.m.||TNT|
|2||Wizards at Pacers||May 7||7 p.m.||TNT|
|3||Pacers at Wizards||May 9||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Pacers at Wizards||May 11||8 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Wizards at Pacers||May 13||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Pacers at Wizards||May 15||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Wizards at Pacers||May 18||TBD||TBD|
|1||Nets at Heat||May 6||7 p.m.||TNT|
|2||Nets at Heat||May 8||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|3||Heat at Nets||May 10||8 p.m.||ABC|
|4||Heat at Nets||May 12||8 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Nets at Heat||May 14||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Heat at Nets||May 16||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Nets at Heat||May 19||TBD||ABC|
NBA.com; *Denotes if necessary
Burning Questions for Round 2
Does the Nets' Regular-Season Success Against the Heat Mean Anything?
If there's one team that the Heat didn't want to see from the Eastern Conference, it might be the Brooklyn Nets. As you're sure to hear numerous times over the coming days, the Nets swept the regular-season series between the teams, 4-0.
Nets will face Heat in 2nd round of playoffs. Brooklyn swept Miami during regular season, 4-0. » pic.twitter.com/a2qrozLP7G— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 4, 2014
The question now becomes whether that even matters. The Heat decimated the Bobcats in the first round and appear ready to make their way to yet another NBA Finals appearance.
Then again, the Heat swept the Bobcats in the regular season, so that was to be expected.
The Nets, on the other hand, struggled to even make it to the second round as the sixth seed. They had to edge out the Raptors in a seven-game series and could struggle to get going against the well-rested Heat.
Are the Pacers Finally Back on Track?
No storyline has been more bizarre than the fall of the Indiana Pacers this season. The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference went from juggernaut at the All-Star break to the team that fell behind 3-2 to the Atlanta Hawks in the opening series.
To the Pacers' credit, they were able to avoid a disastrous exit by winning Games 6 and 7. But is that a sign that they've finally hit their stride or that they've delayed the inevitable?
The young Wizards will be waiting to find out.
Fresh off Washington's victory over the Bulls in five games, John Wall and Co. are looking like a team ready to make the leap.
Adding intrigue to this series will be the addition of Luis Scola and Evan Turner to the regular rotation for the Pacers, according to the team's Twitter account.
Coach Vogel: "Evan [Turner] and Luis [Scola] will be back in the rotation in a much greater role in this series."— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 4, 2014
With the Pacers still tinkering with lineups this deep into the playoffs, one has to wonder if they can survive against a team clicking on all cylinders.
Can Kevin Durant Get Back to the Finals?
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder made it to the second round of the playoffs, but it wasn't as easy as fans might have expected. The No. 2 seed was taken to the brink by the No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies in a tight seven-game series.
Those seeding are a bit misleading, though. With a healthy Marc Gasol playing in the post, the Grizzlies entered the playoff season as one of the best teams in the Association:
The challenge will be much different for the Thunder in Round 2. Rather than dealing with the Grizzlies' grinding style and post-centric attack led by Gasol and Zach Randolph, they'll have to deal with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
If Durant is going to make this the year that he no longer settles for second place, he's going to have a difficult road to overcome.