NBA Playoffs 2020: Game Times, TV Schedule and Predictions for Tuesday Matchups

Keegan PopeContributor IIIAugust 18, 2020

Sacramento Kings' DaQuan Jeffries, left, defends against Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Day 2 of the NBA Playoffs will have to pull off a pretty incredible slate of games to top yesterday's matchups. 

The showdown between Denver and Utah saw Donovan Mitchell score 57 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome the two-headed monster of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who combined for 65 points and 10-for-16 shooting from beyond the arc in an overtime win to give Denver a 1-0 lead in the series. 

In the East, Toronto blew past Brooklyn behind 30 points from Fred VanVleet and a scorching shooting night, with Canada's team hitting 22 three-pointers to hold off a third-quarter Nets comeback. Elsewhere, Jayson Tatum continued his terrific play since the restart, notching a team-high 32 points and 13 rebounds in a 109-101 Boston Celtics win over the Philadelphia 76ers. 

And in arguably the best—and most controversial game of the day—the Los Angeles Clippers got just enough from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard (56 combined points) to hold off another stellar night from Luka Doncic (42 points, nine assists, seven rebounds). But the Mavericks did have to play for most of the third and fourth quarters without Kristaps Porzingis, who was ejected after he and Marcus Morris were given questionable double technicals early in the third quarter. 


Monday NBA Playoffs Schedule (All Times ET)

Game 1: Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 1:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 1: Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, 4:00 p.m., ESPN

Game 1: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 1: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 9:00 p.m., ESPN


Oklahoma City vs. Houston

Prediction: The Thunder will steal Game 1 from the Russ-less Rockets. 

Despite some lackluster outside shooting, Russell Westbrook is the biggest X-factor for Houston. James Harden makes the Rockets offense go, but when he's on, Westbrook creates a 1-2 punch that can be nearly unstoppable, especially if Houston is able to get out in transition. But Westbrook will miss at least the first game and likely the "first few playoff games" with a strained quad, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen

That puts outsized pressure on Harden to carry the load against one of the better defensive teams in the league, and Oklahoma City can focus nearly all of its attention on him.

In two games without Westbrook, the Rockets were beaten by Indiana despite Harden going for 45 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists, and they were blown out by Philadelphia by 38 points Friday. In that contest, Harden scored 27 but got little help from the supporting cast, with only three other players scoring more than 10.

If Houston wants to avoid that fate again at the hands of a team they're 1-2 against this season, Robert Covington, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker will have to break through offensively. 


Portland vs. Los Angeles

Prediction: Dame goes off, but Portland has no answer for LeBron and AD. 

There's no team in the league coming into the playoffs with as much confidence as the Blazers. After securing the No. 8 seed, Portland held off rising star Ja Morant and Memphis in the play-in game to set up a showdown with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the top-seeded Lakers. 

In his final four games of the season, Damian Lillard scored 185 points (46.2 points per game) and willed the Blazers to five wins in their last six games. With C.J. McCollum still nursing a back injury, Portland's offense is going to be heavily reliant on Lillard. And without Avery Bradley, the Lakers have very little in their arsenal to slow him down. 

But on the flip side, Portland has almost no answer for the combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Blazers have relied almost exclusively on Carmelo Anthony and Mario Hezonja at the power forward spot, and neither is a lockdown defender. On the inside, Portland can throw the combination of Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside at Anthony Davis, but his ability to stretch the floor presents a problem for both of them. 

Look for Los Angeles to run things through LeBron and AD early and often, and in a series where defense will be at a premium, it might just come down to who has the ball on the final possession. 


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