The first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs was a treat, and Round 2 has similarly compelling matchups and storylines that will help to make this postseason one of the most memorable in recent history.
Sure, we might not see a majority of series go to seven games, but we'll certainly see some exciting basketball. Three lower seeds advanced into this round, and all three will look to keep the momentum going against even tougher opponents.
Here's a full schedule including TV info and bracket information to ensure that you're up to date with each of the four series.
|1||Clippers at Thunder||May 5||Clippers 122 Thunder 105||Clippers 1-0|
|2||Clippers at Thunder||May 7||Thunder 112 Clippers 101||Series tied 1-1|
|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||Spurs 116 Blazers 92||Spurs 1-0|
|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||Wizards 102 Pacers 96||Wizards 1-0|
|2||Wizards at Pacers||May 7||Pacers 86 Wizards 82||Series tied 1-1|
|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||Heat 107 Nets 86||Heat 1-0|
|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
The Brooklyn Nets were 4-0 against the Miami Heat during the regular season, but the two-time defending NBA champs proved in Game 1 that such silly regular-season numbers don't matter in the playoffs.
LeBron James and Co. dismantled the Nets, winning 107-86 to maintain their perfect 5-0 record this postseason. Ray Allen chipped in 19 points to go with James' 22, while Chris Bosh dropped 15 points and grabbed 11 boards.
The Nets entered Game 1 after completing a seven-game series with the Toronto Raptors, whereas the Heat had a lengthy rest after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats in Round 1. James attributes his team's early success to the rest, at least that's what he told the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
It was great that we were able to come out the way we did after being off eight days. We got a lot of work in. We had eight days off of not playing a basketball game but Spo got us in the gym. (We) got each other in the gym. We made each other accountable throughout the layoff and it proved tonight.
Don't sleep on the Nets, though. Even with Miami's strong start to the series, there is a reason that Brooklyn took four games and dropped none to the Heat this year. Brooklyn got clutch performances up and down the roster, and the confidence in knowing that it can defeat Miami in a long series should go a long way.
Head coach Randy Wittman has the Washington Wizards playing at an unbelievable level right now, and for him, it's all about mentality. This is what he told Jason Reid of The Washington Post regarding his team's success on the road:
"Talent gives you an opportunity. Belief in doing it gets you over the top. That’s the main thing: the mental standpoint."
The Wizards have ridden Wittman's teachings—not to mention their young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal—to a second-round series against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are essentially spiraling out of control, and at this point, you'd be foolish to not choose Washington to advance.
Wall and Beal have teamed together to form a formidable duo, but the likes of Nene Hilario and Trevor Ariza are also making their presences felt. This is a dangerous team as a No. 5 seed.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Los Angeles Clippers destroyed the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 behind Chris Paul's 32 points, 10 assists and career-high eight three-pointers. That can't happen again in Game 2 if OKC wants to pick up the win.
If Chris Paul continues to play like he did tonight with 32pts, the Clippers will have a great chance to get to the WCF & NBA Finals.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 6, 2014
Russell Westbrook is no Chris Paul, and that's where OKC can get burned. If it allows Paul to be dynamic like he was in Game 1, then it'll be difficult to keep up offensively. Westbrook is dynamic, but he takes a ton of shots and often looks to score and drive to the basket before setting up his teammates.
Granted, Paul looked to shoot a whole lot in Game 1, but he was red-hot. Also, he still racked up 10 assists.
To take down the potent Clippers, Kevin Durant will need to shine. The NBA's MVP clearly has the ability to put his team on his back, but it will be up to his teammates to allow him to make plays. The Thunder won't win the point guard battle against Los Angeles, but they have this season's top performer to fall back on.