NBA announces preliminary schedule for Game 1 of the playoffs

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There are still some seedings to be worked out on the final night of the NBA season, but the league has released a preliminary schedule of the days and times for Game 1 of every playoff series that will take place this weekend.

The Miami Heat will begin their quest for a third straight title on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, in a contest that will be nationally televised on ABC. The Spurs, meanwhile, will take the league’s best record into the postseason beginning at 1:00 p.m., and their game can be seen on TNT.

Only two matchups are completely set — the Pacers will host the Hawks on Saturday, (though the time is yet to be determined), while the Rockets will host the Blazers on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.

The complete schedule is reprinted below, and we’re likely to get finalized versions with matchups and times for all teams shortly following the conclusion of tonight’s action.

Western Conference

                                                                     DATE                                       ET                    NETWORK

at San Antonio                                         Sunday, April 20                      1:00PM          TNT

at Oklahoma City                                    Saturday, April 19                   TBD                 TBD

at L.A. Clippers                                        Saturday, April 19                   TBD                 TBD

Portland at Houston                               Sunday, April 20                   9:30PM            TNT

                                                                       

Eastern Conference                                       

                                                                     DATE                                       ET                    NETWORK

Atlanta at Indiana                                 Saturday, April 19                   TBD                 ESPN

at Miami                                                    Sunday, April 20                    3:30PM           ABC/ESPN Radio

at Toronto                                                Saturday, April 19                   TBD                 ESPN

at Chicago                                               Sunday, April 20                      7:00PM          TNT

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”