The 2014 NBA playoffs have been fantastic if you like buzzer-beaters, shootouts and physical play, but isn't that what you'd expect when the top-two teams from each conference were the only ones remaining?
We expected it from the East given the lack of quality in the conference, but the fact that the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder made it through the tough opponents of the West speaks to the level of basketball these two teams are playing.
With two games down in each series, there is still plenty more basketball to come. The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are knotted at one game apiece, while the Spurs have a huge 2-0 lead over OKC. There's still plenty of time for either series to go either way.
Don't miss a single dribble of the remaining games. With the four best teams in the league in action, there will definitely be some fireworks. Below is a full TV schedule, along with an updated playoffs bracket.
An updated NBA playoffs bracket can be found here.
|Game||Eastern Conference Finals||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|1||Indiana Pacers 107, Miami Heat 96||Sunday, May 18||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|2||Miami Heat 87, Indiana Pacers 83||Tuesday, May 20||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|3||Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat||Saturday, May 24||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat||Monday, May 26||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|5*||Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers||Wednesday, May 28||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|6*||Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat||Friday, May 30||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|7*||Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers||Sunday, June 1||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game||Western Conference Finals||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|1||San Antonio Spurs 122, Oklahoma City Thunder 105||Monday, May 19||9 p.m.||TNT|
|2||San Antonio Spurs 112, Oklahoma City Thunder 77||Wednesday, May 21||9 p.m.||TNT|
|3||San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder||Sunday, May 25||8:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4||San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder||Tuesday, May 27||9 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs||Thursday, May 29||9 p.m.||TNT|
|6*||San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder||Saturday, May 31||8:30 p.m.||TNT|
|7*||Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs||Monday, June 2||9 p.m.||TNT|
ESPN.com, *if necessary
Eastern Conference Finals
The Pacers dominated the Heat in Game 1, as a consistent effort right from the opening tip was enough to take an early one-game lead over the two-time defending NBA champions.
That same consistency was lost in Game 2, however. Miami came out strong with a solid defensive effort and locked up a gritty win on the road. Now heading back home to Miami, the Heat are in a good position to make some noise.
They would have been in better position if Pacers star Paul George had to miss time due to a concussion he suffered in Game 2.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweeted on Friday that George thinks he'll be able to play:
Paul George (concussion) told reporters he's been symptom free for about 2 days. Not yet cleared but signs suggest he'll play in Game 3.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 23, 2014
The Pacers' official account confirmed that he'll be active in Game 3:
Paul George has been cleared to return to normal basketball activity by NBA’s Director of Concussion Management: http://t.co/W5JY8DQ1wX— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 23, 2014
There's still reason to believe that George might not be able to play full speed even if active. He took a hard blow to the head that resulted in the concussion. Pacers coach Frank Vogel could choose to give him lesser minutes.
Throughout the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals redux against the Indiana Pacers, Wade has been the team's best scoring option. He's averaging a team high 25 points and shooting 64.7 percent. This is coming after he made a career-best 54.5 percent over the course of the season. He became such an efficient scorer in terms of field goal percentage because he understands his weaknesses. He's abandoned the 3-point shot almost entirely. He took only 32 attempts in 54 games. It's a good idea considering he's made only 28.9 percent of his career attempts.
With Wade firing on all cylinders, the Heat will be dangerous in the remaining games of the series.
Western Conference Finals
The missing piece for OKC might be close to returning. Serge Ibaka hasn't played in either game of the Western Conference Finals, but the defensive stalwart might see time before the series is over, tweets Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
With a substantial and unexpected reduction in calf swelling, Serge Ibaka now listed as day-to-day, Thunder announce.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 23, 2014
OKC has really missed Ibaka. Defensively, he redirects shots and makes it difficult for opposing players to drive to the basket. Big men have difficulties backing him down because of his length, as well.
Offensively, Ibaka is a clear upgrade over Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison—two players that have seen more time as a result of his injury. Inserting Ibaka back into the lineup will put less pressure on MVP Kevin Durant and his running mate, Russell Westbrook.
The Thunder have the weapons to come back in this series, but Tim Duncan and the Spurs are playing so cohesively right now that it won't be easy.
Ibaka is walking and doing light basketball drills. "There is a possibility for him to play in this series," GM Sam Presti said.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 23, 2014
San Antonio has the playoff experience that OKC still lacks. The Spurs seek revenge on the Heat after coming within a few plays of a championship last season. That motivation might inevitably prove to be too much for OKC to overcome.