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NBA Playoffs 2018: TV Schedule and Predictions for Saturday's Round 1 Games

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 14, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 8: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on April 8, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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A rematch of the 2017 Western Conference Final leads the 2018 NBA playoffs, as the San Antonio Spurs face the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena on Saturday.

Looking at the rest of the day's slate, the Toronto Raptors will look to get revenge on John Wall and the Washington Wizards following a four-game sweep three years ago, while scorching-hot rookie Ben Simmons leads the Philadelphia 76ers versus the Miami Heat.

The nightcap features three All-Stars, as Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans take on Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Below you can find the television schedule for Saturday's NBA action in addition to picks for each game.

    

NBA Schedule: Saturday, April 14

3 p.m. ET on ABC: No. 7 San Antonio Spurs at No. 2 Golden State Warriors

5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN: No. 8 Washington Wizards at No. 1 Toronto Raptors

8 p.m. ET on ESPN: No. 6 Miami Heat at No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers

10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN: No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans at No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers

       

Predictions

No. 7 San Antonio Spurs at No. 2 Golden State Warriors

Although Steph Curry won't be suiting up for the first round as he rehabs a Grade 2 MCL sprain, the sportsbooks are still confident about the Warriors' Game 1 chances, making Golden State an eight-point favorite over the San Antonio Spurs, per OddsShark.

That's in part because Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard is out with a quad injury with no timetable for his return. San Antonio battled to make the playoffs without him (Leonard played in just nine games), but it's hard seeing the Spurs taking the Warriors down when Golden State still has three All-Stars remaining (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green).

The X-factor here could be Spurs forward Kyle Anderson, who has done well against Golden State in four regular-season games (12.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals). Anderson can stuff the stat sheet, but the Spurs are going to have trouble matching the Warriors' scorers.

Specifically, Thompson and Durant are both capable of going off for 50-plus, and if one or both of them gets hot, then San Antonio is in trouble.

Pick: Warriors 111, Spurs 100

           

No. 8 Washington Wizards at No. 1 Toronto Raptors

The question here is whether the Washington Wizards' second unit will be able to contend with the Toronto Raptors' bench, which is arguably the best in the league. On paper, this is a mismatch.

That's less of a commentary on the Wizards (who have some solid subs, including swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. and point guard Tomas Satoransky) and more of one on the Toronto Raptors, who are probably one sharpshooter away from forming a decent NBA-caliber starting lineup from their subs alone.

The X-factor off the pine is Fred VanVleet, who is the heart and soul of the Raptors' bench. The tough, hard-nosed point guard out of Wichita State brings an incredible amount of energy every time he hits the floor. He's also shot well from the field, making 41.4 percent of his three-pointers.

One could make the case that the two starting lineups are evenly matched, but the clear edge off the bench goes to Toronto, and that will be the difference here.

Pick: Raptors 114, Wizards 99

                

No. 6 Miami Heat at No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers

Regardless of whether Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is able to suit up for this series (he's out for Game 1 with a concussion and orbital fracture that has kept him on the bench since March 29), this is a tough matchup for the Miami Heat, who are facing a 76ers team that has won 16 straight games heading into the playoffs.

Philadelphia has been fantastic at home, going 30-11 at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers have the home-court advantage (in addition to an incredible amount of momentum), and Ben Simmons has been a nightmare to guard down the stretch (he nearly averaged a triple-double with 12.8 points, 10.6 assists and 9.4 boards a night).

The X-factor for the Heat is center Hassan Whiteside, who may have an easier time operating down low if Embiid is out for longer than one game. However, the 76ers are firing on all cylinders right now, and it's tough to bet against the hottest team in the NBA.

Pick: 76ers 104, Heat 97

             

No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans at No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers

This series comes down to two factors: Can the Portland Trail Blazers slow down New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, and can the Pels do the same for Blazers point guard Damian Lillard?

If the regular season is any indication, the answer to both of those questions is no. Lillard had one of his best games of the season against New Orleans, dropping 41 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals in a four-point win.

Davis reserved some of his best performances for Portland, notably when he went for 36 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and a couple steals in the same game.

Expect both players to dominate in this series, but the slight edge goes to Portland given its home-court advantage. Ultimately, it wouldn't be a surprise if this one goes the full seven games.

Pick: Blazers 108, Pelicans 107

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