NBA playoffs first round results, schedule, times and where to watch


The first round of the NBA playoffs can feel like it lasts forever — eight series running all at once, scheduled with multiple days between games as the league works to get what it believes will be the highest-rated games in prime slots for its broadcast partners. It can lead to an uneven start.

But once the drama of the playoffs kicks in — as it did this year on the opening weekend and has continued throughout — nobody is bothered. Well, except for the coaches, who are bothered by everything.

Here is the first-round NBA playoff schedule as we know it. This will be updated as the dates are finalized and the results pour in. All times are Eastern (* = if necessary).


#1 Denver vs. #8 Minnesota

1) Sun 4/16: Nuggets won 109-80 (Denver 1-0)
2) Wed 4/19: Nuggets won 122-113 (Denver 2-0)
3) Fri 4/21: Nuggets won 120-111 (Denver 3-0)
4) Sun 4/23: Timberwolves won 114-108 in OT (Denver 3-1)
5) Tue 4/25: Nuggets won 112-109 (Denver advances 4-1)

#2 Memphis vs. #7 L.A. Lakers

1) Sun 4/16: Lakers won 128-112 (Los Angeles 1-0)
2) Wed 4/19: Grizzlies won 103-93 (series tied 1-1)
3) Sat 4/22: Lakers won 111-101 (Los Angeles 2-1)
4) Mon 4/24: Lakers won 117-111 in OT (Los Angeles 3-1)
5) Wed 4/26: Grizzlies won 116-99 (Los Angeles 3-2)
6) Fri 4/28: Lakers won 125-85 (Los Angeles advances 4-2)

#3 Sacramento vs. #6 Golden State

1) Sat 4/15: Kings won 126-123 (Sacramento 1-0)
2) Mon 4/17: Kings won 114-106 (Sacramento 2-0)
3) Thu 4/20: Warriors won 114-97 (Sacramento 2-1)
4) Sun 4/23: Warriors won 126-125 (Series tied 2-2)
5) Wed 4/26: Warriors won 123-116 (Golden State 3-2)
6) Fri 4/28: Kings won 118-99 (Series tied 3-3)
7) Sun 4/30 at Sacramento, 3:30 (ABC)

#4 Phoenix vs. #5 LA Clippers

1) Sun 4/16: Clippers won 115-110 (Los Angeles 1-0)
2) Tue 4/18: Suns won 123-109 (series tied 1-1)
3) Thu 4/20: Suns won 129-124 (Phoenix 2-1)
4) Sat 4/22: Suns won 112-100 (Phoenix 3-1)
5) Tue 4/25: Suns won 136-130 (Phoenix advances 4-1)


#1 Milwaukee vs. #8 Miami

1) Sun 4/16: Heat won 130-117 (Miami 1-0)
2) Wed 4/19 Bucks won 138-122 (series tied 1-1)
3) Sat 4/22: Heat won 121-99 (Miami 2-1)
4) Mon 4/24: Heat won 119-114 (Miami 3-1)
5) Wed 4/26: Heat won 128-126 in OT (Miami advances 4-1)

#2 Boston vs. #7 Atlanta

1) Sat 4/15: Celtics won 112-99 (Boston 1-0)
2) Tue 4/18: Celtics won 119-106 (Boston 2-0)
3) Fri 4/21: Hawks won 130-122 (Boston 2-1)
4) Sun 4/23: Celtics won 129-121 (Boston 3-1)
5) Tue 4/25: Hawks won 119-117 (Boston 3-2)
6) Thu 4/27: Celtics won 128-120 (Boston advances 4-2)

#3 Philadelphia vs. #6 Brooklyn

1) Sat 4/15: 76ers won 121-101 (Philadelphia 1-0)
2) Mon 4/17: 76ers won 96-84 (Philadelphia 2-0)
3) Thu 4/20: 76ers won 102-97 (Philadelphia 3-0)
4) Sat 4/22: 76ers won 96-88 (Philadelphia advances 4-0)

#4 Cleveland vs. #5 New York

1) Sat 4/15: Knicks won 101-97 (New York 1-0)
2) Tue 4/18: Cavaliers won 107-90 (series tied 1-1)
3) Fri 4/21: Knicks won 99-79 (New York 2-1)
4) Sun 4/23: Knicks won 102-93 (New York 3-1)
5) Wed 4/26: Knicks won 106-95 (New York advances 4-1)

Three takeaways from Celtics’ Game 6 win to eliminate Hawks


The Hawks put up more of a fight than many outside Atlanta expected — and Trae Young reminded everyone of the potential of his game — but in the end the Boston Celtics pulled away in the final minutes to beat the Hawks 128-120 in Game 6. That gives the Celtics the series 4-2.

Here are three takeaways from the Celtics’ Game 6 win.

1) Marcus Smart put the brakes on another Trae Young game

Dejonte Murray returning from suspension made a nice storyline, but if the Hawks were going to force a Game 7 it would be because Trae Young dominated again — and for a half he did. Young had 25 points with four 3-pointers in the first half and it was a one-point game at the break.

Then Marcus Smart happened.

“Marcus was being way more aggressive and wasn’t leaving me as much…” Young said. “In the 2nd half, he was just more connected to me.”

Young had five points on 1-of-13 shooting after halftime, plus he had some ugly moments like a rough time inbounding out of the corner late in the game. It took more than just Smart to slow Young, but this was the kind of team defensive effort that we didn’t see enough of from Boston in the first round —and they had better bring a lot more of those against Philadelphia (more on that in No. 3 below).

2) Boston got a balanced performance, the Hawks got something to build on

Boston is the betting favorite in the East — thanks to the Heat sending the Bucks fishing — and a key reason is depth. There are no obvious, easy-to-exploit holes in their lineup, plus they can get scoring from a variety of places.

That was evident in Game 6: Jaylen Brown scored 32, Jayson Tatum added 30, Smart scored 22 plus played lock-down defense in the second half, Malcolm Brogdon scored 17, and Al Horford had a critical 10 points. There was balance.

Boston will need more of that going forward, but the way the Celtics roster racked up points in Game 6 was a reminder of what makes them dangerous.

For the Hawks, the playoffs were a step forward. They had a turbulent season with Young and Murray not being the natural fit, Hawks’ GM Travis Schlenk being let go, followed by coach Nate McMillan. Landry Fields is now running the front office, while Quin Snyder came in as the new head coach.

Snyder has at least won over Trae Young, which is a big first step.

The Hawks have some hard roster decisions coming up and are open to trading anyone on the roster — including Young. It’s unlikely he gets moved, but this is going to feel different next season with Snyder having a full summer and training camp to put in a more motion-based offense and start holding guys accountable on defense. Snyder has the power and Young has to be on board or he will be gone, but he seems to buy in. Actions will speak louder than words, but it’s a good start.

3) Hawks put up points on Celtics’ defense this series, is that a red flag?

For the first three quarters of Game 6, both teams had an offensive rating above 130 — not much defense was played. Eventually Marcus Smart and company got enough stops to get the win, but it was another poor effort on that end of the court by Boston.

The Celtics had a 115.5 defensive rating for this series, four points higher than their regular season average. Part of that was going up against the Young and the Hawks, who had a top-10 offense this season, but Boston was not the top three defense they were during the regular season. The Celtics were not sharp.

Is that a red flag? Because they are about to face the presumptive MVP Joel Embiid and his 33 points a game this season, plus James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and the third-ranked offense in the league these past 82 games. Philadelphia’s offense has more weapons and is a bigger threat than Atlanta’s.

If the Celtics defend against the Sixers like they did against the Hawks, they will not see the winner of the ’90s throwback Knicks vs. Heat series in the conference finals. Boston’s defense has to be better than it was in the last six games.

PBT Podcast: Talking first round of playoffs, where do Clippers go now?


We’re approaching the end of an unexpectedly fun and entertaining first round of the NBA playoffs. Remember when we thought the West was going to be wild with upsets but the East was predictable and follow the chalk?

Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat thought differently. Corey Robinson and Kurt Helin from NBC Sports dive into all the first-round matchups including the Warriors and Kings, the Heat and Bucks, if the Grizzlies can come back on the Lakers and more.

Then for Corey’s Jukebox, it’s time for the King of Country George Straight to sing one for Kawhi Leonard. That leads to a conversation about where the Clippers go from here after another injury-plagued season and playoffs. Should they run it back, or is it time to move on from the Paul George/Kawhi Leonard era?

Then the duo talk officiating in the playoffs, always a fraught topic this time of year. Finally, the duo talks about what animal — real or imagined — they would take on a quest.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above (the Christmas games segment) or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at

Watch Trae Young drain deep step-back, game-winning 3 to beat Celtics, keep Hawks season alive


BOSTON — His team trailing by a point and its season on the brink, Hawks star Trae Young got all the encouragement he needed in the huddle during his team’s timeout.

“I just had to trust in what I’ve done my whole life and shoot it with confidence,” Young said.

He did, and kept Atlanta’s season alive.

Young had 38 points and drained a long go-ahead 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key with 2.8 seconds left to help the Hawks cap a late comeback and beat the Boston Celtics 119-117 Tuesday night.

The victory trims Boston’s lead in the first-round playoff series to 3-2 and sends the teams back to Atlanta for Game 6 Thursday. It also means the next round of the East playoffs — where the winner of this series faces the Philadelphia 76ers — will not start until May 1, giving Joel Embiid more time to rest his injured knee.

Young had 16 points in a frenetic fourth quarter, getting support from his teammates who collectively knocked down a series-best 19 3-pointers.

John Collins added 22 points for Atlanta, who played without Dejounte Murray, who was suspended for one game for bumping official Gediminas Petraitis after the end of Game 4.

With Murray out, Young picked up the offensive slack and helped Atlanta keep pace early, scoring nine of Hawks’ first 13 points. By the time the final quarter arrived, Collins got a sense of familiarity watching his teammate.

“I know what time it is. It’s Ice Trae time. He’s clutch. He wants to be in that moment. He wants the big shot,” Collins said. “It’s what he does.”

Jaylen Brown scored 35 points and Jayson Tatum added 19 for the Celtics, who were outscored 37-25 in the fourth quarter. It came after Boston had dominated for three quarters. For the game the Celtics held a 60-38 scoring edge in the paint and 24-8 in transition.

A sloppy finish made it all for not.

“We had some boneheaded plays, some fouls. Gave them some opportunities to get going,” Brown said. “We just gotta finish the game.”

Derrick White put the Celtics in front 117-116 with 7.3 second remaining, setting up a final possession for the Hawks. The ball went to Young in the backcourt, who dribbled into the front court and knocked down a 29-footer over Brown.

The Celtics bobbled their initial inbounds pass and had another chance with 0.5 seconds left, but Tatum’s fading 3-point try found only air as time expired.

Brown, who has been recovering from a late-season facial fracture, went unmasked for most of the Celtics’ victory in Game 4, saying he found energy after taking it off during a 31-point scoring night.

He wore it again for Game 5 and maintained the same intensity, leading all scorers with 23 first-half points.

Atlanta trailed by 13 before tying the game at 111 on a 3-pointer Young.

As the Hawks began to mount their run, fans inside TD Garden began peppering him with expletive-laced chants.

“When people do that I think that’s just total respect. I mean, they aren’t doing that to everybody,” he said.

Boston pushed the ball up the court and got the ball to Robert Williams, who dropped in a layup. He was fouled but missed his ensuing free throw.

The score was still 113-111 when Young drove and was fouled by Al Horford. Tatum took issue with the call and was whistled for a technical foul. Young hit all three free throws to put the Hawks in front 114-113.

Brown turned it over, then misfired on a driving layup. Atlanta’s next possession ended in a jump ball that was controlled by Boston. Williams scored on a layup to put the Celtics back in the lead with 25 seconds left.

Young was fouled again with 15.8 seconds remaining and connected on two more free throws.

The Celtics called a timeout. The ensuing play wound up with White driving to the basket. He was fouled and went to the line for what appeared to be the game-winning free throws.

Young had other plans.

“You can tell, you look in his eyes and there was a calm,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “Sometimes that happens in the middle of a storm.”

Young now has 60 fourth-quarter points in the series.

Dejounte Murray on what led up to bumping referee, suspension: ‘A lot’

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Ask players what frustrates them most about NBA referees and it’s not the missed calls (although that has its moments). Instead at the top of the list of complaints is the lack of ability to have a conversation about those calls, those decisions. A younger generation of officials appears to have been trained not to discuss calls or have a dialogue with players, and while the players can add to that tension with a lack of respect at points, many want to have a rational conversation and feel they get a “talk to the hand” moment instead.

Keep that in mind as you read what the Hawks’ Dejonte Murray said about what led up to his Game 5 suspension after bumping into official Gediminas Petraitis and yelling at him.

“It was a lot that led up to it. A lot. You know, a lot of ignoring, a lot of brushing me off, brushing my teammates off, just asking questions of how we could be better. And even just with that, you know, this individual goes back to San Antonio [Murray’s previous team] where, I don’t know why that person treated me the way he treated me over the years…

“I’m just a guy that likes to have conversations, especially with the referees. You ask 98% of the refs why they greet me before games, they’ll tell you because I’m one of the most respectful ones. I don’t cry about calls, I don’t disrespect them, call them other names or none of that…

“I take full responsibility for not being able to play for my teammates and the fans and this organization as a whole. But at the end of the day there’s a lot that led up to that, you know, and I think a lot of players can relate to you know, those frustrations.”

Murray crossed the line and earned his suspension — he made contact with an official and yelled at him. The league cannot tolerate that.

But there is context, which ties into the tense relationship between referees and players in the league right now. It’s something Monty McCutchen — the NBA’s Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training — is working to correct. It will also be a long, long road to get there.