NBA Playoffs 2018 Schedule: Bracket Released Of First-Round Matchups For East & West Teams

The battle begins this weekend as 16 teams start competing for the 2018 NBA Championship.

nba playoffs 2018 schedule bracket for first round matchups
Darron Cummings / AP Images

The battle begins this weekend as 16 teams start competing for the 2018 NBA Championship.

The 2018 NBA playoffs schedule is now official after a drama-filled Wednesday night produced a final team in the West and all of the seeds were set for both conferences. Fans of the 16 teams heading into postseason matchups will now await the weekend as matchups for the East and West brackets will begin. That includes a Saturday night game in Philadelphia as well as the first playoff game for Minnesota in 14 seasons. Here’s the latest on which teams ended up with which seeds and what their matchups will be in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

According to ESPN, the first-round NBA playoff matchups begin on Saturday, April 14 with four games. Tipping off at 3 p.m. Eastern Time will be the defending champion Golden State Warriors as they host the San Antonio Spurs. That game is followed by the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, hosting the No. 8 Washington Wizards at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Philadelphia 76ers captured the No. 3 seed, so they’ll open with an 8 p.m. Eastern Time game against No. 6 Miami at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The Portland Trail Blazers will host the New Orleans Pelicans at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time to close out Saturday’s first day of action.

Eastern Conference

  • 1. Raptors vs. 8. Wizards (GM 1 on Sat. 4/14 at 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • 4. Cavaliers vs. 5. Pacers (GM1 on Sun. 4/15 at 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
  • 2. Celtics vs. 7. Bucks (GM1 on Sun. 4/15 at 1 p.m. ET, TNT)
  • 3. Sixers vs. 6. Heat (GM 1 on Sat. 4/14 at 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Western Conference

  • 1. Rockets vs. 8. Timberwolves (GM1 on Sun. 4/15 at 9 p.m. ET, TNT)
  • 4. Thunder vs. 5. Jazz (GM1 on Sun. 4/15 at 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
  • 3. Trail Blazers vs. 6. Pelicans (GM 1 on Sat. 4/14 at 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • 2. Warriors vs. 7. Spurs (GM 1 on Sat. 4/14 at 3 p.m. ET, ABC)

Sunday’s NBA Playoffs schedule brings four more games. Starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on TNT, the Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks. ABC takes over at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time as LeBron James and the No. 4 seed Cleveland Cavaliers host the No. 5 seed Indiana Pacers. Next up on the slate are Russell Westbrook and the No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder as they host the surging No. 5 Utah Jazz at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (TNT).

The final game of the weekend will see MVP candidate James Harden and the No. 1 seed Houston Rockets hosting the No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves at 9 p.m. Eastern, with TNT providing the telecast. Minnesota clinched the final playoff spot in the West by winning an overtime battle against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. That gives them the prize of the top team overall this season in the first round. Many Rockets fans are already predicting a first-round sweep much to the chagrin of Minnesota fans.

So what will the brackets produce for a 2018 NBA Finals matchup? Right now, the odds favor another Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors NBA Finals, as Odds Shark reported it is the favorite on the sportsbooks at a +345 moneyline price. However, a Toronto vs. Golden State finals is right there at +368 and Cavs vs. Rockets finals is at +469 odds for third overall.