The 2017 NBA playoff schedule is nearly set, with the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors as one intriguing first-round matchup. So when do the NBA Playoffs begin for 2017? The first game will tip off on Saturday, April 15, setting the tone for what should be a very exciting postseason.
There is still some seeding to be decided within the 2017 NBA playoffs picture. In the updated NBA standings, the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks are battling it out for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks (42-38) are slightly ahead of the Bucks (42-39) with just two days left in the regular season. Milwaukee beat the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (April 10), thanks to a triple-double by Giannis Antetokounmpo, to move within half a game of Atlanta.
If the 2017 NBA playoff schedule were to tip off tonight, Eastern Conference first-round matchups would include the Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks. The rest of the 2017 NBA playoffs picture from the East has shifted a bit due to the Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game on Monday. The game went to overtime, with Miami edging out a 124-121 victory. This has shifted the seeding in the latest NBA playoff standings.
The Boston Celtics have taken over as the No. 1 seed in the East, with the Cleveland Cavaliers now in the No. 2 spot. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat improved to 40-41 on the season, moving into a tie with the Chicago Bulls for the No. 8 seed. Both teams are also just a game back of the Indiana Pacers (41-40) for the No. 7 seed. The Bulls won the season series against the Heat, keeping them in the playoff spot, but everything comes down to the final day of the regular season schedule.
Over in the Western Conference, the top eight teams have already been decided, setting up the 2017 NBA playoff schedule to have a rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers. Last season, the Warriors eliminated the Blazers, but have since added Kevin Durant to the fold. All the first-round matchups have been set in stone within the NBA playoff standings for the West. The only thing left to decide is whether the Los Angeles Clippers (49-31) or Utah Jazz (49-31) will clinch the No. 4 seed and host the other team.
The other first-round matchups on the 2017 NBA playoff schedule include the San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies, the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, the Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls, and the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz. Exact dates and game times won’t get released by the league until everything is set on Wednesday evening (April 12), but fans should expect a weekend packed with first-round games.
As for the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors series, a lot could hinge on whether the Blazers field a healthy team. Portland had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the second half, spurred on by the play of newly-acquired center Jusuf Nurkic. If he can return in time for the postseason, the Blazers stand a better chance at making the series interesting. The team also needs Allen Crabbe to be healthy, as he is an important component of the second unit. So when do the NBA playoffs start for those players? That answer is still a bit murky.
There are a lot of questions about how the postseason is going to turn out, beginning with whether the Cleveland Cavaliers can repeat as NBA champions. Can the Golden State Warriors win the Western Conference for a third-straight season? The team almost gave up the No. 1 seed in the NBA playoff standings to the San Antonio Spurs, but losing LaMarcus Aldridge for several games curtailed that from playing out. The battle between James Harden’s Houston Rockets and Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder might also be a key series.
When do the NBA Playoffs begin? In just five days (April 15). Strap yourselves in basketball fans, because the 2017 NBA playoff schedule is going to be packed with exciting storylines to follow.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]