NBA Playoff Bracket 2018: Dates, Game Times, TV Schedule for Conference Finals

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 15, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14:  Draymond Green #23 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors exchange a high five during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 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 Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The NBA conference finals are underway as the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors opened their respective series with resounding double-digit victories.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets likely won't go quietly into that good night, however, and they each have a chance to exact revenge in Game 2. The C's and Cavs will face off Tuesday, while Houston will host Golden State on Wednesday.

Here's a look at the playoff bracket as well as the conference finals and NBA Finals schedules. Some further notes on both playoff series can be found below.


NBA Playoff Bracket: Eastern Conference

1st Round

No. 1 Toronto Raptors 4, No. 8 Washington Wizards 2

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers 4, No. 5 Indiana Pacers 3

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers 4, No. 6 Miami Heat 1

No. 2 Boston Celtics 4, No. 7 Milwaukee Bucks 3


2nd Round

Cleveland 4, Toronto 0

Boston 4, Philadelphia 1


Conference Finals

Boston 1, Cleveland 0


NBA Playoff Bracket: Western Conference

1st Round

No. 1 Houston Rockets 4, No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves 1

No. 5 Utah Jazz 4, No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder 2

No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans 4, No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers 0

No. 2 Golden State Warriors 4, No. 7 San Antonio Spurs 1


2nd Round

Golden State 4, New Orleans 1

Houston 4, Utah 1


Conference Finals

Golden State 1, Houston 0


Eastern Conference Finals TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Cleveland at Boston (Game 2): Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

Boston at Cleveland (Game 3): Saturday, May 19 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

Boston at Cleveland (Game 4): Monday, May 21 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

Cleveland at Boston (Game 5, if necessary): Wednesday, May 23 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

Boston at Cleveland (Game 6, if necessary): Friday, May 25 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

Cleveland at Boston (Game 7, if necessary): Sunday, May 27 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN


Western Conference Finals TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Golden State at Houston (Game 2): Wednesday at 9 p.m. on TNT

Houston at Golden State (Game 3): Sunday, May 20 at 8 p.m. on TNT

Houston at Golden State (Game 4): Tuesday, May 22 at 9 p.m. on TNT

Golden State at Houston (Game 5, if necessary): Thursday, May 24 at 9 p.m. on TNT

Houston at Golden State (Game 6, if necessary): Saturday, May 26 at 9 p.m. on TNT

Golden State at Houston (Game 7, if necessary): Monday, May 28 at 9 p.m. on TNT


NBA Finals Schedule (All Times ET)

The winner of the Western Conference Finals will have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals, as the Rockets and Warriors have the best two regular-season records of the teams remaining.

East winner at West winner (Game 1): Thursday, May 31 at 9 p.m. on ABC

East winner at West winner (Game 2): Sunday, June 3 at 8 p.m. on ABC

West winner at East winner (Game 3): Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m. on ABC

West winner at East winner (Game 4): Friday, June 8 at 9 p.m. on ABC

East winner at West winner (Game 5, if necessary): Monday, June 11 at 9 p.m. on ABC

West winner at East winner (Game 6, if necessary): Thursday, June 14 at 9 p.m. on ABC

East winner at West winner (Game 7, if necessary): Sunday, June 17 at 8 p.m. on ABC


Eastern Conference Finals Notes

The Cleveland Cavaliers' deficiencies on both ends of the floor were revealed Sunday when they lost to the Boston Celtics 108-83.

On offense, LeBron James had an uncharacteristically tough afternoon, making just five of 16 field-goal attempts. The problem is that his team was cold as well, making just 26 of their 72 shots. In fact, the only player to shoot better than 50 percent from the field was Tristan Thompson, whose offense largely revolves around putbacks and alley-oops.

On defense, the Cavs had trouble matching up with the Celtics, most specifically down low with Al Horford and on the perimeter with Jaylen Brown.

Horford had one of the best games by any player in the NBA playoffs thus far by scoring 20 points (on 8-of-10 shooting) in addition to six assists, four rebounds and two blocks in just 27 minutes. He also played great defense down low and helped hold the scorching-hot Kevin Love to 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting.

As for Brown, the 21-year-old was a problem from deep (3-of-5) and on the boards (eight total).

Ultimately, if James can't get it going, then the rest of the Cavs have to pick it up on both ends to make this a series. But it's hard seeing the King going out quickly, so look for him to bounce back in Game 2 with a strong performance and for his team to follow suit.

As for Boston, it will be interesting to see if (a) it can pull off another A-plus performance and (b) if its shorter bench affects the rotation at some point.

The team has been hit with injuries all season, and the latest (a sprained shoulder for Shane Larkin) has cut the bench by one player, leading to what has more or less become a seven-man rotation. Will the Celtics run out of gas, or can they power through to the NBA Finals?


Western Conference Finals Notes

For a brief moment, it looked as though the Houston Rockets would crush the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals matchup. A Trevor Ariza three-point play quickly put the Houston Rockets ahead 12-4 less than three minutes into the game, and no one on Golden State could stop James Harden from raining threes.

However, the Warriors outscored the Rockets by 21 points for the rest of the night, led by Kevin Durant and his 37 on 14-of-27 shooting. No one could put a stop to his deadly mid-range game, which helped keep Golden State afloat when they were down in the first quarter and eventually finished Houston off.

The issue for Houston (and the rest of the NBA) on a given night is obvious: The Warriors have three world-class shooters, so unless your team can match that scoring power or has three lockdown defenders, then they are near-impossible to beat.

On Monday, Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson's shots were all falling, as all of them made more than half of their field-goal attempts. That's obviously a dire situation for Houston, who simply doesn't have the firepower to match Golden State when it's that hot.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what adjustments Houston makes. In particular, do the Rockets try to sacrifice some defense for more offense and see if they can match the Warriors blow for blow? That might be the best bet going forward, as the Golden State offense simply looks unbeatable right now.


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