Set your DVRs: The complete NBA playoff first round schedule

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It is time to get serious. Finally. No more guys sitting out with “injuries” that exist only so David Stern won’t fine teams for resting players. No more talk of real injuries that actually have wrecked some of the fun of the season. No more Derrick Rose talk… oh, I guess that doesn’t end. But at least now we can get on with games that mean something.

Let’s get on with some playoff basketball.

So you can set your DVRs — or put alerts in your Google calendar so you know to get to the bar and watch the game — here is the full schedule for the first round of the NBA playoffs. All times are Eastern. An “*” means if necessary.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Oklahoma City vs. Houston

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at Oklahoma City 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Sat April 27 at Houston 9:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 29 at Houston TBD
Game 5 * Wed May at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Houston TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at Oklahoma City TBD

San Antonio vs. L.A. Lakers

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at San Antonio 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at San Antonio 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at L.A. Lakers 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at San Antonio TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at San Antonio TBD (TNT)

Denver vs. Golden State

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at Denver 5:30PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at Denver 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at Golden State 10:30PM (ESPN2)
Game 4 – Sun April 28  at Golden State 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at Denver TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Golden State TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Denver  TBD (TNT)

L.A. Clippers vs. Memphis

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at L.A. Clippers 10:30PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Mon April 22 at L.A. Clippers 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Memphis 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Sat April 27 at Memphis 4:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30at L.A. Clippers TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Memphis TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at L.A. Clippers TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Miami vs. Milwaukee

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Miami  7:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at Miami 7:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Milwaukee 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at Milwaukee 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at Miami TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Miami TBD (TNT)

New York vs. Boston

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at New York 3:00PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at New York 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at Boston 8:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at Boston 1:00PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Wed May 1 at New York TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3  at Boston TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at New York TBD

Indiana vs. Atlanta

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Indiana 1:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at Indiana 7:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Sat April 27 at Atlanta 7:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 29 at Atlanta TBD
Game 5 * Wed May 1 at Indiana TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Atlanta TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at Indiana TBD

Brooklyn vs. Chicago

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at Brooklyn 8:00PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Mon April 22 at Brooklyn 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Chicago 8:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 4 – Sat April 27 at Chicago 12:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Mon April 29 at Brooklyn TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Chicago TTBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Brooklyn TBD (TNT)

Raptors drop Kawhi Leonard tribute video

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Wednesday night, Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto for the first time since leaving the team last summer to head to Los Angeles.

Unlike most returns in recent years, there will not be boos — Toronto will welcome Leonard back with open arms. He won them a ring, there are no hard feelings.

The Raptors already dropped a tribute video on Twitter.

Well done, Raptors.

It’s going to be fun to see his return, which will be a celebration — and should be a good game.

Ja Morant admits he was thinking about cameras on baseline during return to court

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Monday night, Grizzlies star rookie Ja Morant returned to the court after missing four games with what was officially called “back spasms,” but in reality was him recovering from his back hitting a courtside cameraman after a fall.

Morant scored 26 to lead the Warriors to a win in Golden State, but he admitted to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that when he drove the lane and went up he thought about his landing spot and those cameramen.

Following the contest, Morant acknowledged that instead of solely focusing on being the best version of himself, he occasionally found himself thinking about the proximity of camera operators while driving in the paint.

“It’s tough because I know I just have to do more controlled jumps now,” Morant told Yahoo Sports. “But at the same time, I’m just trying not to think about it and still try to play my game. It’s just a tough situation all the way around, honestly….

“I just think player safety should be first and foremost. How I play and where I end up, [cameramen] are right there. Personally, I like to attack the rack, and I feel like that injury came from me attacking the rack and it was just nowhere to land for me.”

Morant echoes the concern of a lot of players and coaches.

The NBA is aware of the issue, back in 2014 they reduced the number of cameramen on the baseline by half (down to 10 per side) and created a four-foot-wide “runway” on either side of the stanchion that players can run up if they have a full head of steam.

That’s not close to eliminating the problem. The NBA is not going to remove those cameras — the NBA is in the entertainment business, and those cameras provide some of the best video angles and still shots to show fans — but expect it to take another look and review its process here.

What we don’t want to happen is the game loses a promising young player like Morant for a lot more than four games after a run-in with a cameraman.

Bulls’ Otto Porter out at least one more month with fractured foot

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The Chicago Bulls miss Otto Porter. He was a starter on the wing for nine games, scoring 11.2 points per game, hitting 40 percent of his threes, playing solid defense, and the Bulls offense was 8.3 points per 100 possessions better on offense when he was on the court. He’s a steadying influence as a veteran.

However, he has been out the last 16 games with a foot injury, and he’s going to miss at least another month, the Bulls announced Tuesday. The Bulls said Porter saw a specialist and he “confirmed the bone injury and healing response in Porter’s left foot consistent with a small fracture that has become more clearly defined with repeated imaging over the last five weeks.”

What that means for Porter is another month in a boot.

Chandler Hutchison‘s bruised shoulder has him in street clothes, too, which means Kris Dunn will remain the starter for now. Denzel Valentine has used a bump in minutes to show some growth in his game, play fairly well, and make a push for even more run of late.

But without Porter, the Bulls are not the same.

 

 

Report: Kevin Love would prefer to play for Portland if traded

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are listening to trade offers for Kevin Love.

Love’s reaction to this is essentially “whatevs.” He’s been in the middle of trade rumors for four years now, it’s as constant and annoying in his life as taxes.

However, if he is going to get traded, he’d prefer to go home to Oregon and play for Portland, reports Kevin O’Conner at The Ringer.

Love would prefer to play for his hometown Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple league sources. The Blazers make perfect sense as a destination for Love; they need help for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after the team has been decimated by injuries….

The Blazers have the salaries to make a deal work with the expiring contracts of Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) or Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million).

There were previous reports Love just wants to go to a contender. That said, there is logic to him wanting to go home, and there is a good fit in Portland, a team that needed help at the four before injuries rocked the roster. Love is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, is shooting 37.1 percent from three, and remains one of the best outlet passers in the game.

Making a trade work is trickier. Bazemore has to play a much larger role after Rodney Hood was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, his availability is up for debate.

Hassan Whiteside can make the trade numbers work with his expiring contract, and Whiteside won’t be missed once Jusuf Nurkic (and even Zach Collins) returns from injury. However, the Cavaliers are going to want draft picks or young players to help with their rebuild to make this trade. Would the Blazers throw in a protected first to make this happen?

There also is this question any team trading for Love has to ask itself: Do we want to take on the three-plus years remaining on his four-year, $120 million contract? That’s a lot of money and years for an All-Star player who is productive but aging, and also has a lengthy injury history.

Portland can also try to trade for Danilo Gallinari and his expiring contract with the Thunder, which has a lot less risk involved.

Love, however, would be popular in Portland, and he would help the team.