Here’s your NBA first round playoff schedule

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We bring you this so you know when to clear out your schedule for the next couple weeks. Or at least when to set your DVR.

Here is the schedule for all eight first round NBA playoff series. The time and station for the later series remains up in the air (due to some series going longer than others), but you get the idea.

All times Eastern.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

San Antonio vs. Dallas

Game 1 – Sun at San Antonio 1:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed at San Antonio 8:00PM NBA TV
Game 3 – Sat at Dallas 4:30PM TNT
Game 4 – April 28 at Dallas 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * April 30 at San Antonio TBD
Game 6 * May 2 at Dallas TBD
Game 7 * May 4 at San Antonio TBD

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

Game 1 – Sat at Oklahoma City 9:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Mon at Oklahoma City 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu at Memphis 8:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Sat at Memphis 9:30PM ESPN
Game 5 * April 29 at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 6 * May 1 at Memphis TBD
Game 7 * May 3 at Oklahoma City TBD TNT

L.A. Clippers vs. Golden State

Game 1 – Sat at L.A. Clippers 3:30PM ABC
Game 2 – Mon at L.A. Clippers 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu at Golden State 10:30PM TNT
Game 4 – April 27 at Golden State 3:30PM ABC
Game 5 * April 29 at L.A. Clippers TBD
Game 6 * May 1 at Golden State TBD
Game 7 * May 3 at L.A. Clippers TBD TNT

Houston vs. Portland

Game 1 – Sun at Houston 9:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed at Houston 9:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri at Portland 10:30PM ESPN
Game 4 – April 27 at Portland 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * April 30 at Houston TBD
Game 6 * May 2 at Portland TBD
Game 7 * May 4 at Houston TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Indiana vs. Atlanta

Game 1 – Sat at Indiana 7:00PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue at Indiana 7:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu at Atlanta 7:00PM NBA TV
Game 4 – April 26 at Atlanta 2:00PM TNT
Game 5 * April 28 at Indiana 8:00PM NBA TV
Game 6 * May 1 at Atlanta TBD
Game 7 * May 3 at Indiana TBD TNT

Miami vs. Charlotte

Game 1 – Sun at Miami 3:30PM ABC
Game 2 – Wed at Miami 7:00PM TNT
Game 3 – April 26 at Charlotte 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – April 28 at Charlotte 7:00PM TNT
Game 5 * April 30 at Miami TBD
Game 6 * May 2 at Charlotte TBD
Game 7 * May 4 at Miami TBD

Toronto vs. Brooklyn

Game 1 – Sat at Toronto 12:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue at Toronto 7:30PM NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri at Brooklyn 7:00PM ESPN2
Game 4 – April 27 at Brooklyn 7:00PM TNT
Game 5 * April 30 at Toronto TBD
Game 6 * May 2 at Brooklyn TBD
Game 7 * May 4 at Toronto TBD

Chicago vs. Washington

Game 1 – Sun at Chicago 7:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Tue at Chicago 9:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri at Washington 8:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – April 27 at Washington 1:00PM ABC
Game 5 * April 29 at Chicago TBD
Game 6 * May 1 at Washington TBD
Game 7 * May 3 at Chicago TBD TNT

Former Lakers forward Michael Beasley signing in China

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Before the season, Michael Beasley said the Lakers “can be exactly where we want to be at the end of the year.”

I doubt he envisioned himself being in China.

But that’s where he’s headed after getting traded to and waived by the Clippers.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Beasley has played in China twice before and dominated. High-volume scorers like him translate well.

At 30, Beasley might be nearing the end of his NBA chances. He can still contribute a little, but the bar is higher for someone who brings headaches and silliness.

If he again plays well in China, he’ll probably get another chance with an NBA team next season. But that’s certainly not a lock.

Blake Griffin enjoying resurgence a year after trade to Pistons

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DETROIT (AP) — Blake Griffin doesn’t need to jump over any cars to be a hit in the Motor City.

A year after arriving in Detroit with his career at a crossroads, a more earthbound Griffin is doing all he can to shake the Pistons out of their decade-long malaise.

“He does a little bit of everything for us. Probably one of our better pick-and-roll players, passers, scorers, leader by example, just so many things,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “His basketball intellect, for me, is one that’s been the most impressive of our players. I didn’t know that about Blake, because when you think about him, you think about the high-flying dunker and the muscular guy in the post, but there’s a lot more to that than just his dunking and athleticism.”

A month shy of his 30th birthday, there are fewer above-the-rim highlights but Griffin’s first full season with Detroit has been one of his best. He’s averaging a career-high 26.3 points per game while making strides as a perimeter shooter, and he earned his first All-Star selection since 2015.

Most importantly, he’s been able to stay healthy, and although the Pistons still have a losing record, they’re in the playoff race, largely because of Griffin.

“As a player, you always believe in yourself,” Griffin said. “I knew I had another level to go to, and being healthy was part of that. … But the beginning of the year, my goal isn’t to only make the All-Star team. It’s much more than that.”

In July 2017, Griffin agreed to a $171 million, five-year deal with the Clippers, the team that drafted him with the first overall pick in 2009. Less than a year later, he was abruptly traded – from glitzy Los Angeles to a Detroit franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008. It was a risky move for the Pistons, given Griffin’s high salary and the fact that he has only three seasons with more than 67 games played. They gave up a first-round draft pick in the trade, and when they missed the playoffs anyway, that was the end of Stan Van Gundy’s tenure as coach and president of basketball operations.

For Griffin, it was an inauspicious start to the Detroit portion of his career, and there’s been frustration this season as well. The Pistons are 26-30, tied for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. Even if they do make the playoffs, they don’t look like a team ready to make a run.

But for Griffin individually, the season has been a significant step forward. The man who once pulled off a two-handed dunk while jumping over the front of a car is a bit less of an athletic sensation in Detroit, but the blue-collar elements of his game are still plenty effective. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Griffin can muscle his way to the basket and draw fouls, and he gives the Pistons another tough rebounder alongside Andre Drummond. Griffin is also leading the team in assists.

“I think for me, my job is to make his game as easy as possible on the offensive end. When I get him open, he usually makes the right plays,” Drummond said. “It’s a nightmare for teams. You’ve got to really pick your poison, who you really want to get going, and it’s scary when we both get it going.”

Griffin has expanded his offensive repertoire to include the 3-point shot in recent years. He has already made a career-high 134 3s this season, shooting a credible 37 percent from long distance.

“It helps a lot, especially in today’s NBA, with everybody spacing the floor a little bit more, and playing with a guy like Dre, who’s so effective inside,” Griffin said. “To be able to give him a little bit more space is a good thing. I always see guys working to expand their range, and when you do, you see them add years to their career.”

When Griffin joined the Clippers, he added some legitimacy and excitement to what had been one of the league’s most downtrodden franchises. Now the Pistons are a team that could use some buzz. The results recently have been mixed: Griffin has been terrific, but the team as a whole has remained mediocre.

But Detroit won four of five heading into the All-Star break, and if the Pistons do make the playoffs, they’ll have Griffin to thank.

“He’s thinking the game. He’s a couple steps ahead,” Casey said. “I’ve had a lot of great forwards, power forwards, and he’s right up there with the best, whether it’s Dirk (Nowitzki), (Kevin) Garnett, Detlef Schrempf – just a lot of great players that I’ve been around. He’s right in that category.”

 

Hawks GM: “If we stayed at 3, we would have taken Luka (Doncic)”

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It was the Draft day trade that shook the NBA last June.

In a deal made agreed to before the picks were made, the Atlanta Hawks traded Luka Doncic, taken No. 3, to Dallas for Trae Young (taken fifth), and the Hawks got the Mavericks 2019 first-round pick (top five protected). It forever linked Doncic and Young in the minds of fans (fair or not).

Doncic has gone on to become a historically good rookie — averaging 20.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, he is the Mavs best player, is the runaway Rookie of the Year, and is already a star (who fans almost voted into the All-Star Game) — which has led to a lot of criticism for Atlanta in some quarters for not keeping the pick and Doncic. That despite the fact Young has played well after a slow start (20 points per game with 35.9 percent shooting from three in his last 20 games) and the Hawks got another pick in the deal.

On the Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said that the team would have drafted Doncic if they kept the pick (hat tip Real GM).

“Not a lot of people know this…if we stayed at 3, we would have taken Luka. We had worked with his agent, he did a physical with us that morning in New York…but then Dallas came in an hour or so before the draft. I told them all along that it would take another lottery pick for us to slide back, and that’s when the conversations got started.”

Interestingly, Schlenk added that the team’s analytics department, projecting into next season, played a big role in the deal getting done.

“Our analytics staff was predicting Dallas to finish 8th this year,” added Schlenk.

As of right now (and before the lottery shakes things up), the Mavericks are projected to pick ninth. If that remains, Dallas has a 20.2 percent chance to jump into the top four with the new lottery odds. Otherwise, the pick will go to Atlanta.

Despite Doncic’s play, it’s too early to fully judge the trade. How good will Young become? How high is Doncic’s ceiling? What happens with the future first-round pick, and who will the Hawks get with it?

For a rebuilding team like the Hawks, a second lottery pick to move back a couple of spots can make sense — so long as the guy your trading doesn’t become a superstar. Doncic may become that. Atlanta was higher on Young than many teams, and he has rewarded that faith of late, but how good will he ultimately be? It’s not quite a Sam Bowie pick, but some fans may ultimately see it that way if Doncic’s star continues to rise. However, as Schlenk explained, there were logical reasons to make the trade.

One last look back: Best dunks of All-Star Weekend (VIDEO)

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Defense? That’s one thing that rarely makes an appearance All-Star weekend.

Combine that with the game’s best athletes and what you get are three days of insane dunks.

The NBA put this together, the best dunks of All-Star weekend in Charlotte. Enjoy.