Tag: Eastern Conference

Miami Heat's James and Wade look on during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago

Eastern Conference playoff schedule. Set your DVR now.


Because we know you plan your lives around the NBA playoffs just like we do, here is the schedule for the two Eastern Conference semifinals. At least as it stands right now. There is a whole lot of TBD in there for times.

If you want to talk about the series, we have previewed both Miami vs. Indiana and Boston vs. Philadelphia. Also, note that there are no back-to-backs as had been considered for this round (and could happen in the West).

Obviously, games 5, 6 and 7 are if necessary. All times are Eastern. Even the TBD.

Miami vs. Indiana

Game 1 – Sunday, at Miami 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Tuesday, at Miami 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thursday, at Indiana TBD (ESPN)
Game 4 – May 20, at Indiana 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 5 – May 22 at Miami TBD (TNT)
Game 6 – May 24 at Indiana TBD
Game 7 – May 26 at Miami TBD

Boston vs. Philadelphia

Game 1 – Saturday, at Boston, 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Monday, at Boston 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Wednesday, at Philadelphia 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Friday, at Philadelphia TBD (ESPN)
Game 5 – May 21 at Boston (TBD) TNT
Game 6 – May 23 at Philadelphia TBD (ESPN)
Game 7 – May 26 at Boston TBD

NBA playoffs: Boston will win Atlantic, can 76ers stay in?

Kevin Garnett, Marquis Daniels

With just more than two weeks left in the regular season, the NBA’s playoff picture is starting to come into focus. Sort of. Here is where things stand as of Monday morning.

Boston, with its easy win over Philadelphia, moved three games up in the Atlantic division, ahead of both Philly and New York. Barring an Atlanta Braves-like collapse, the Celtics will win the Atlantic — which means at least the No. 4 seed. Which means avoiding Miami or Chicago in the first round. Right now, Boston would get Atlanta in the first round (but the five-seed Hawks would get the home court due to a better record).

Philly is in danger of sliding right out of the playoffs all together — they are now the eight seed and just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. Philly is tied with New York, but the Knicks are on an uptick and winning games — although the Wednesday showdown between the Bucks and Knicks will be big.

There may be some shifting in the middle in the East — Indiana, Atlanta and Orlando are all within 1.5 games of each other. But it’s hard to see those three being anything but the three, five and six seeds — they are six games back of the two seed Heat and four games up on the seven seed Knicks.

If the playoffs started today in the East it would be:

Bulls vs. Sixers
Heat vs. Knicks
Pacers vs. Magic
Celtics vs. Hawks (Atlanta has home court)

Out in the West, San Antonio and Oklahoma City remain tied at the top. The Lakers and Clippers are in a battle for the three and four seeds — the Lakers are half-a-game ahead (and have the tie-breaker) right now. But they both better look over their shoulder at the hot Memphis Grizzlies, who are two games back of the Lakers.

At the bottom of the West it is a crowded mess — Houston is the six seed, Dallas the seven and Denver the eight and they are all within a game of each other. Phoenix is one game back of the Nuggets and the Jazz are just half-a-game behind the Suns (after a loss to the Spurs Sunday). It feels like Denver is slipping out, but they have beaten the Bulls recently and are capable of big wins. Unless someone goes on a big losing streak, this is going to come down to the last week.

If the playoffs started today we would see:

Spurs vs. Nuggets
Thunder vs. Mavericks
Lakers vs. Rockets
Clippers vs. Grizzlies

We’ve got your Eastern Conference playoff schedule right here

Knicks' Anthony stands near Celtics' Pierce in third quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York
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Earlier today we teased you with just the first games from the Eastern Conference playoffs — giving you time to rearrange your book club meeting Sunday night so as not to miss the Knicks and Celtics.

Now, here are the full scheduled dates for the first round. However, the times on some of these games have yet to be decided. In fact most of them.

All times are Eastern and we have listed the broadcast station for the games we know. All games with an asterisk (*) next to them will only be played if necessary.

Chicago vs. Indiana

Game 1 – Sat April 16 at Chicago 1:00PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Mon April 18 at Chicago 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 21 at Indiana TBD (NBA TV)
Game 4 – Sat April 23 at Indiana TBD (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 26 at Chicago TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 28 at Indiana TBD
Game 7 * Sat April 30 at Chicago TBD (TNT)

Miami vs. Philadelphia

Game 1 – Sat April 16 at Miami 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Mon April 18 at Miami 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 21 at Philadelphia TBD (TNT)
Game 4 – Sun April 24 at Philadelphia 1:00PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Wed April 27 at Miami TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 29 at Philadelphia TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 1 at Miami TBD

Boston vs. New York

Game 1 – Sun April 17 at Boston 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Tue April 19 at Boston 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 22 at New York TBD (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 24 at New York 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Tue April 26 at Boston TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 29 at New York TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 1 at Boston TBD

Orlando vs. Atlanta

Game 1 – Sat April 16 at Orlando 7:00PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Tue April 19 at Orlando 7:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Fri April 22 at Atlanta TBD (ESPN2)
Game 4 – Sun April 24 at Atlanta 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 26 at Orlando TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 28 at Atlanta TBD
Game 7 * Sat April 30 at Orlando TBD (TNT)

Stumbling to the playoffs in the East

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks
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Interesting post put up at Hoopdata, simply looking at playoff team’s records since the All-Star Break (coming into Saturday’s games).

What you notice is some team’s stumbling to the finish line in the East.

Chicago 11-3
Philadelphia 10-4
Boston 8-5
Orlando 8-5
New York 7-7
Miami 6-7
Indiana 6-9
Atlanta 5-9

We knew the Bulls have been getting healthy and playing their best ball, but how much better they’re playing right now than the other contenders is really noticeable. Miami is under .500, and Boston has cooled off considerably after the break. We knew that, but to look at the teams ranked like this brings a new perspective to it.

Philadelphia is just playing quality ball and getting the most out of the team they have. Doug Collins has really done a masterful job. This is the team the top seeds in the East may want to avoid in the first round — even if you beat them it will be a longer, harder struggle than other teams will face. A healthy and consistent Elton Brand has made a difference in Philly (he may not have been what he was five years ago, but he’s back to being a solid part of the team).

Atlanta has had a crazy drop off. What is more shocking is that Larry Drew took over for Mike Woodson and finally introduced movement into the offense — no more “iso Joe” — and the offense got worse. Much worse, like 5.5 points per 100 possessions worse. Going from second in the league in offensive rating last year to 20 this season. With basically the same players, all still theoretically in their prime. They are getting blown out by every playoff team they seem to face lately.

All these notes come with one big caveat — Boston was 11-11 in their last 22 last season, but got healthy and rested, entered the playoffs where they got their groove and rode it to the finals. So, don’t read too much into these records. But it is interesting.

By the way, follow the link to the article and you see everybody in the West is over .500. The Lakers are hot (11-1) but nobody is cold.

Are the Chicago Bulls contenders? They aren’t even thinking about it.

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Bobcats

NBA fans, most of them anyway, don’t list the Chicago Bulls among the contenders in the East. It’s Miami and Boston. (Sorry Orlando, have to earn your way back onto that list.)

The Bulls being left off that list is really keeping Carlos Boozer up at night.

“That’s okay, we believe in ourselves,” Boozer told ProBasketballTalk with a little smirk. “We’re gonna keep doing what we do and we’ll see where we end up. We’ve got to prove it when it matters.”

That pretty much echoes what you hear around the Bulls locker room — they fall back to the “one game at a time” cliché like a Bull Durham character. They don’t mention that they beat the Celtics, Lakers, Heat and Magic last time they played them. Just focus on the next one. Especially now, as they are out on the ice show road trip.

But that road trip — and the time after the All-Star Break when they get Joakim Noah back and finally have a full roster for a stretch — will give us a chance to answer the contender question. So far they have been good but we don’t know how good — by the time Noah returns after the All-Star Break he and Boozer will have missed a combined 50 games. The excuses will soon be gone. We’re going to find out if the Bulls are contenders or just a piece or two away.

Back when the season started teams with new parts were slow to come together, but it was Miami drawing headlines and proclamations of failure a month into the season. The Bulls had a little of that awkwardness also — especially with Boozer out nursing a broken hand — but they flew under the radar then, too.

“We started off the season we knew the biggest challenge was how quickly we could all get on to the same page with all the changes that we had,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The big thing for us was just to strive for improvement every single day. And we’re confident if we do the right things — and we want to start with our defense, defend and rebound and take care of the ball — we feel we’ll be in position to win (games).

“We’re still not where we want to be. We’ve got a long way to go.”

There it is again. One game at a time. Get a little bit better. Do that and they think they have a chance.

They’ve done that to the tune of a 34-16 record so far (sixth best in the NBA). But that record comes against one of the softest schedules in the league and that is starting to change. Things are getting harder right as the team has lost two straight on the road (and 18 of their final 32 are away from the United Center).

The Bulls have earned the wins they do have with defense — they are giving up 100 points per 100 possessions, the best rate in the NBA. Better than the Celtics and Magic and Heat. And they haven’t missed a beat with Noah out (they’ve been a little better, actually). The Bulls second unit doesn’t get enough credit — they may be the best defensive second unit in the NBA.

But is the offense good enough? They are scoring 106.2 points per 100 possessions, 19th best in the league. Below average. Their shooting is average, they turn the ball over too much and don’t get to the line enough (although Derrick Rose has been better about that lately).

Will that defense be able to hold up against a tougher schedule? Can their offense do enough being carried as it has been by Rose and his 24.6 points per game this season? Can the bench keep providing that boost at both ends of the floor?

The Bulls aren’t worrying about it, they are worrying about the Utah Jazz Wednesday night. One game at a time. Get a little bit better.

Who should be worried about it? Boston and Miami. Because one of them will get the Bulls in the second round of the playoffs and if things do come together as Thibodeau and Boozer plan Chicago will prove themselves a contender. And a very tough out.