2020 NBA Playoffs: Bracket, First-Round Schedule & TV Times

No more excuses. For the majority of the teams taking part in the NBA restart, the eight seeding games meant not much more than a pre-season scrimmage. This state of things change Monday when the 2020 NBA Playoffs begin in the Orlando bubble, bringing the longed-for competitiveness back on the court.

It was only fitting that the first-of-a-kind play-in tournament between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers served as a prelude to the postseason extravaganza.

In the year when nothing has been ordinary, the two Western Conference teams battled it out for the No. 8 seed in a short series that was neither part of a regular season nor the playoffs, causing headache to statisticians and historians.

Given a new lease of life by the four-month hiatus, the Blazers confirmed their dark horse status and sent Memphis packing while securing a first-round showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. That is by far the most exciting matchup in the opening act of this year’s playoffs: Portland’s red-hot offense led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum against the reincarnated Lakers, returning to significance after a dark decade in franchise history.

There are many subplots behind this series. Have the Lakers woken up from their evident post-hiatus hibernation? How sustainable is Portland’s rotation revolving around the Lillard-McCollum backcourt playing 40 minutes every game? How will the All-Star LeBron James-Anthony Davis duo fare in their first-ever championship challenge? And finally, how motivated will James be in one of the last hurrahs of his career?

To second every NBA expert’s take in the run-in to the playoffs, the Trail Blazers — who reached the Western Conference Finals last season — is not your typical eight seed. Expect fireworks on the court from the very first moment the ball is up.

Other first-round matchups might not be as enticing, but there are things to look out for in other parts of this year’s playoff bracket. The clash between the L.A. Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks is definitely one to watch.

The Clippers were immediately tipped as one of the main title contenders by many after pulling off a spectacular double swoop last free agency to pair two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard with six-time All-Star Paul George at Staples Center.

Squaring up to Mavs wunderkind Luka Doncic, who has run Dallas’ historically effective offense alongside Kristaps Porzingis, will surely serve as an indication whether they can clinch the franchise’s first NBA title this season.

In the East, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks are taking on the Orlando Magic. And while no one really expects the Bucks to trip up there, they have to prove they have shaken off the sluggishness which crept into their game even before the season was halted in March.

Especially as the Toronto Raptors have made it clear in the Orlando bubble that not only there are the reigning champions. But also, considering their confidence and the mighty defense, that they could be the ones to beat.

The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets begin these extraordinary NBA Playoffs on Monday, Aug. 17, at 10:30 a.m. PT.

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (8); Los Angeles won season series 2-1

Game 1: Portland at Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Portland at Los Angeles, Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Los Angeles at Portland, Saturday, Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 4: Los Angeles at Portland, Monday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5*: Portland at Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 26 (TBD)
Game 6*: Los Angeles at Portland, Friday, Aug. 28 at (TBD)
Game 7*: Portland at Los Angeles, Sunday, Aug. 30 (TBD)

Los Angeles Clippers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7); L.A. won season series 3-0

Game 1: Dallas at L.A., Monday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Dallas at L.A., Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: L.A. at Dallas, Friday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: L.A. at Dallas, Sunday, Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5*: Dallas at L.A., Tuesday, Aug. 25 (TBD)
Game 6*: L.A. at Dallas, Thursday, Aug. 27 (ESPN)
Game 7*: Dallas at L.A., Saturday, Aug. 29 (TNT)

Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Utah Jazz (6); Denver won season series 3-0

Game 1: Utah at Denver, Monday, Aug. 17 at 10:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Utah at Denver, Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Denver at Utah, Friday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Denver at Utah, Sunday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5*: Utah at Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 25 (TBD)
Game 6*: Denver at Utah, Thursday, Aug. 27 (ESPN)
Game 7*: Utah at Denver, Saturday, Aug. 29 (TNT)

Houston Rockets (4) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (5); Oklahoma City won season series 2-1

Game 1: Oklahoma City at Houston, Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Oklahoma City at Houston, Thursday, Aug. 20 at 12:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Houston at Oklahoma City, Saturday, Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Houston at Oklahoma City, Monday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5*: Oklahoma City at Houston, Wednesday, Aug. 26 (TBD)
Game 6*: Houston at Oklahoma City, Friday, Aug. 28 at (TBD)
Game 7*: Oklahoma City at Houston, Sunday, Aug. 30 (TBD)​​​​​​

Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Orlando Magic (8); Milwaukee won season series 4-0
Game 1: Orlando at Milwaukee, Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 10:30 a.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Orlando at Milwaukee, Thursday, Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Milwaukee at Orlando, Saturday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Milwaukee at Orlando, Monday, Aug. 24 at 10:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
Game 5*: Orlando at Milwaukee, Wednesday, Aug. 26 (TBD)
Game 6*: Milwaukee at Orlando, Friday, Aug. 28 at (TBD)
Game 7*: Orlando at Milwaukee, Sunday, Aug. 30 (TBD)​​​​​​

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Brooklyn Nets (7); Toronto won season series 3-1

Game 1: Brooklyn at Toronto, Monday, Aug. 17 at 1 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Brooklyn at Toronto, Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 10:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
Game 3: Toronto at Brooklyn, Friday, Aug. 21 at 10:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
Game 4: Toronto at Brooklyn, Sunday, Aug. 23 at 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5*: Brooklyn at Toronto, Tuesday, Aug. 25 (TBD)
Game 6*: Toronto at Brooklyn, Aug. 27 (ESPN)
Game 7*: Brooklyn at Toronto, Aug. 29 (TNT)

Boston Celtics (3) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6); Philadelphia won season series 3-1

Game 1: Philadelphia at Boston, Monday, Aug. 17 at 3:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Philadelphia at Boston, Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Boston at Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 21 at 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Boston at Philadelphia, Sunday, Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m. (ABC)
Game 5*: Philadelphia at Boston, Tuesday, Aug. 25 (TBD)
Game 6*: Boston at Philadelphia, Thursday, Aug. 27 (ESPN)
Game 7*: Philadelphia at Boston, Sunday, Aug. 29 (TNT)

No. 4 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 5 Miami Heat; Miami won season series 3-1

Game 1: Miami at Indiana, Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Miami at Indiana, Thursday, Aug. 20 at 10:00 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Indiana at Miami, Saturday, Aug. 22 at 12:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Indiana at Miami, Monday, Aug. 24 at 3.30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5*: Miami at Indiana, Wednesday, Aug. 26 (TBD)
Game 6*: Indiana at Miami, Friday, Aug. 28 (TBD)
Game 7*: Miami at Indiana, Sunday, Aug. 30 (TBD)​​​​​​

* – If Necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

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