NBA PLAYOFFS: CAN CAVS REPEAT? IS THIS CELTS’ YEAR? WHAT ABOUT DUBS AND STEPH?

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Boston Celtics vs. No. 8 Chicago Bulls

Remember when some questioned the hiring of Brad Stevens, saying he might be in over his head with the Celtics job? Well, in just his fourth season at the helm, Stevens has steered the Celtics to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Whether that manifests in a deep playoff run remains to be seen, but the Celtics have, undoubtedly, found themselves a gem. As for the Bulls, though underdogs, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade make them no easy out.

Game 1 – at Celtics, Sunday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 – at Celtics, Tuesday, April 18, 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 – at Bulls, Friday, April 21, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 – at Bulls, Sunday, April 23, 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Celtics, Wednesday, April 26 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Bulls, Friday, April 28 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Celtics, Sunday, April 30 (TBD)

Season series – Tied 2-2.

Starting lineups:

  • Celtics – Isaiah Thomas (29.1 ppg, 5.9 apg, 2.7 rpg), Avery Bradley (16.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 6.1 rpg) Al Horford (14.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.0 apg), Jae Crowder (13.8 ppg, 2.2 apg, 5.8 rpg), Amir Johnson (6.4 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.6 rpg)
  • Bulls – Jimmy Butler (23.9 ppg, 5.5 apg, 6.2 rpg), Dwyane Wade (18.5 ppg, 3.8 apg, 4.5 rpg), Rajon Rondo (7.8 ppg, 6.7 apg, 5.1 rpg), Nikola Mirotic (10.7 ppg, 1.1 apg, 5.4 rpg), Robin Lopez (10.4 ppg, 1.0 apg, 6.4 rpg)

 

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 7 Indiana Pacers

Rocky might be an understatement when it comes to the Cavaliers’ last month of the season, but there’s no more hiding any glaring issues for this team. For better or for worse, the Cavs enter the postseason more vulnerable than they’ve been since LeBron James returned from Miami. Can the Pacers take advantage?

Game 1 – at Cavs, Saturday, April 15, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2 – at Cavs, Monday, April 17, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 – at Pacers, Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 4 – at Pacers, Sunday, April 23, 1 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Cavs, Tuesday, April 25 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Pacers, Thursday, April 27 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Cavs, Saturday, April 29, TNT

Season series – Cavs won 3-1.

Starting lineups:

  • Cavs – LeBron James (26.4 ppg, 8.7 apg, 8.6 rpg), Kyrie Irving (25.2 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.2 rpg), Kevin Love (19.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.9 apg), Tristan Thompson (8.1 ppg, 1.0 apg, 9.2 rpg, J.R. Smith (8.7 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.8 rpg
  • Pacers – Paul George (23.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 6.5 rpg), Jeff Teague (15.2 ppg, 7.8 apg, 4.1 rpg), 14.4 ppg, 1.3 apg, 7.3 rpg), Thaddeus Young (11.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, 6.0 rpg), Monta Ellis (8.6 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.8 rpg)

 

No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

The Raptors have to feel good about their seed given the amount of time Kyle Lowry missed in the second half of the season. What they can’t feel good about is the surge the Bucks are riding coming into the postseason. Can the Raptors’ past playoff runs get them past a determined Bucks squad?

 

Game 1 – at Raptors, Saturday, April 15, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2 – at Raptors, Tuesday, April 18, 7 p.m. ET, NBATV

Game 3 – at Bucks, Thursday, April 20, 8 p.m. ET, NBATV

Game 4 – at Bucks, Saturday, April 22, 3 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Raptors, Monday, April 24, 7 p.m. ET, NBATV

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Bucks, Thursday, April 27 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Raptors, Saturday, April 29, TNT

Season series – Raptors won 3-1.

Starting lineups:

  • Raptors – DeMar DeRozan (27.3 ppg, 3.9 apg, 5.2 rpg), Kyle Lowry (22.6 ppg, 7.0 apg, 4.8 rpg), Serge Ibaka (14.8 ppg, .9 apg, 6.8 rpg), DeMarre Carroll (9.0 ppg, 1.0 apg, 3.8 rpg), Jonas Valanciunas (12.0 ppg, .7 apg, 9.5 rpg)
  • Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo (22.9 ppg, 5.4 apg, 8.8 rpg), Khris Middleton (14.7 ppg, 3.4 apg, 4.2 rpg), Thon Maker (3.9 ppg, .4 apg, 1.9 rpg), Matthew Dellavedova (7.6 ppg, 4.7 apg, 1.9 rpg)

 

No. 4 Washington Wizards vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

The Wizards have stars, role players and depth. The Hawks have experience, rebounding and have found some momentum heading into the playoffs. Can John Wall and Bradley Beal meet expectations after scoring their first division title in decades?

Game 1 – at Wizards, Sunday, April 16, 1 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 – at Wizards, Wednesday, April 19, 7 p.m ET, NBATV

Game 3 – at Hawks, Saturday, April 22, 5:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 4 – at Hawks, Monday, April 24, 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Wizards, Wednesday, April 26 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Hawks, Friday, April 28 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Wizards, Sunday, April 30 (TBD)

Season series – Wizards won 3-1.

Starting lineups:

  • Wizards – John Wall (23.1 ppg, 10.7 apg, 4.2 rpg), Bradley Beal (23.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.1 rpg), Markieff Morris (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apg), Otto Porter Jr. (13.5 ppg, 1.5 apg, 6.4 rpg), Marcin Gortat (10.7 ppg, 1.5 apg, 10.4 rpg)
  • Hawks – Dennis Schroder (7.9 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.1 rpg), Paul Millsap (18.1 ppg, 3.7 apg, 7.7 rpg), Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.5 ppg, 2.3 apg, 2.8 rpg), Dwight Howard (13.5 ppg, 1.4 apg, 12.7 rpg), Kent Bazemore (11.0 ppg, 2.4 apg, 3.2 rpg)

 

Western Conference

No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers

The Warriors faced the Blazers in the second round of the playoffs last year, where they dug deep to win in five games despite Stephen Curry missing the first three with a sprained knee. Will the Blazers be able to put up as much of a fight this time around?

Game 1 – at Warriors, Sunday, April 16, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2 – at Warriors, Wednesday, April 19, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 – at Blazers, Saturday, April 22, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 – at Blazers, Monday, April 24, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Warriors, Wednesday, April 26 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Blazers, Friday, April 28, (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Warriors, Sunday, April 30 (TBD)

Season series – Warriors won 4-0.

Starting lineups:

  • Warriors – Stephen Curry (25.4 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.5 rpg), Klay Thompson (22.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg), Kevin Durant (25 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 4.8 apg), Draymond Green (10.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7 apg), Zaza Pachulia (6.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)
  • Blazers – Damian Lillard (27 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.9 rpg), C.J. McCollum (23 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.6 rpg), Maurice Harkless (10 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 apg), Al-Farouq Aminu (8.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.6 apg), Noah Vonleh (4.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 0.4 apg)

No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies

The Spurs are the second-best team in the NBA, but this first-round date with Memphis won’t be a cakewalk. As we saw the four times these teams met in the regular season, we’re in for at least four more games of hard-nosed, defensive-minded basketball. The Grizzlies have the manpower to give Kawhi Leonard and Co. some trouble. But will they?

Game 1 – at Spurs, Saturday, April 15, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2 – at Spurs, Monday, April 17, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 – at Grizzlies, Thursday, April 20, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 4 – at Grizzlies, Saturday, April 22, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Spurs, Tuesday, April 25 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Grizzlies, Thursday, April 27 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Spurs, Saturday, April 29 (TBD)

Season series – Tied 2-2.

Starting lineups:

  • Spurs – Tony Parker (10.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.8 rpg), Danny Green (7.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg), Kawhi Leonard (25.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg), LaMarcus Aldridge (17.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2 apg), Dewayne Dedmon (5.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.8 bpg)
  • Grizzlies – Mike Conley (20.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.5 rpg), Tony Allen (9.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 apg), Vince Carter (8.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 apg), JaMychal Green (9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 apg), Marc Gasol (19.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.6 apg)

No. 3 Houston Rockets vs. No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder

As far as first-round matchups go, it doesn’t get much better than this, as James Harden and Russell Westbrook — the NBA’s top-two MVP candidates — are set to go toe-to-toe at least four games in a row. What’s more, the first three times these teams met in the regular season, the games were decided by a combined seven points.

Game 1 – at Rockets, Sunday, April 16, 9 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 – at Rockets, Wednesday, April 19th, 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 – at Thunder, Friday, April 21, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 – at Thunder, Sunday, April 23, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 5 (if necessary) – at Rockets, Tuesday, April 25 (TBD)

Game 6 (if necessary) – at Thunder, Thursday, April 27 (TBD)

Game 7 (if necessary) – at Rockets, Saturday, April 29 (TBD)

Season series – Rockets won 3-1.

Starting lineups:

  • Rockets – Patrick Beverley (9.5 ppg, 4.2 apg, 5.8 rpg), James Harden (29.1 ppg, 11.2 apg, 8.1 rpg), Trevor Ariza (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.1 apg), Ryan Anderson (13.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.9 apg), Clint Capela (12.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
  • Thunder – Russell Westbrook (31.9 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 10.4 apg), Victor Oladipo (16 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.6 apg), Andre Roberson (6.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1 apg), Taj Gibson (8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.6 apg), Steven Adams (11.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1 bpg)

 

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