Your 2010 NBA Playoff Schedule

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Here is the schedule to set your life — or at least your DVR — by for the next couple of weeks. Note that all times listed are Eastern. If you don’t live out East (and I don’t) then do the math in your head. It keeps you sharp.

Eastern Conference

Cleveland vs. Chicago
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Cleveland 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Cleveland 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Chicago 7:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Chicago 3:30PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Cleveland TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Chicago TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Cleveland TBD

Orlando vs. Charlotte
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Orlando 5:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Orlando 7:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Sat April 24 at Charlotte 2:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Charlotte TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Orlando TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Charlotte TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Orlando TBD

Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Atlanta 5:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Atlanta 7:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Sat April 24 Milwaukee 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Atlanta TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Atlanta TBD

Boston vs. Miami
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Boston ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Boston 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Miami 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Miami 1:00PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Boston TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Miami TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Boston TNT

Western Conference

L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at L.A. Lakers 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM TNT
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM ESPN
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at L.A. Lakers TBD

Dallas vs. San Antonio
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Dallas 8:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Dallas 9:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 San Antonio 9:30PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 San Antonio 7:00PM TNT
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Dallas TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at San Antonio TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Dallas TNT

Phoenix vs. Portland
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Phoenix 10:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Phoenix 10:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Portland 10:00PM NBATV
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Portland 4:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Mon April 26 at Phoenix TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Portland TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Phoenix TBD TNT

Denver vs. Utah
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Denver 10:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Denver 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Utah 10:30PM ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Utah 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Denver TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Utah TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Denver TBD

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
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Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

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This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.

Magic Johnson on drafting Lonzo Ball: “what I needed was a leader”

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Nobody, not even his critics with the Lakers, question that D'Angelo Russell had talent. What they questioned from the start was his work ethic and maturity. I was told by sources with the team he often was the last one to team meetings, often one of the first out of the gym, and the whole Nick Young thing spoke to the maturity question. Byron Scott took a lot of heat as Lakers’ coach for benching him, and Scott’s communication skills were lacking, but he had reasons. Russell also just 21 and maybe he finds his way, but the Lakers weren’t willing to wait anymore.

Which is why the Lakers were willing to move him to Brooklyn in the Brook Lopez trade, and why the Lakers went after Lonzo Ball in the draft, Magic Johnson said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

Is Lonzo Ball a leader? Only time will tell, he has the potential.

Will players want to play with him? Yes, if the passing skills he showed in college transfer to the NBA. If guys know they will get the rock if they run/cut, then they will do just that. It’s some simple B. F. Skinner stuff here — if players are rewarded they will keep doing it. Get them the rock in transition and they will get out there every time.

Ball has flaws in his game, there are certainly questions about his defense, and how that awkward shot translates remains to be seen (it goes in but his time to get it off will decrease at the NBA level)? Will he be a scoring threat in the half-court? He’s got work to do. But answer those questions and the Lakers may have the key piece to help anchor a franchise he’s been looking for.

Sacramento Kings waive guard Arron Afflalo

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings have waived guard Arron Afflalo one year after signing him as a free agent.

The Kings cut ties with Afflalo on Friday before his entire $12.5 million contract for 2017-18 would become guaranteed. Afflalo will get $1.5 million instead.

Afflalo averaged 8.4 points and 2 rebounds in 61 games this past season for Sacramento. He has averaged 11.3 points per game in his 10-year career.