The Chicago Bulls will host the Indiana Pacers in the opening game of the NBA playoffs that begin on Saturday. The two teams play at 1 pm ET on ESPN.
The NBA announced Eastern Conference playoff series openers for this weekend. The Western Conference series lineup will be sorted out tonight after the final regular season games, there are still multiple scenarios.
The Bulls earned the top seed in the East with the best record (61-20), have the leading candidate for MVP in Derrick Rose, the leading candidate for coach of the year in Tom Thibodeau and a healthy roster. Indiana finished the season seven games under .500 (37-44) yet the Pacers’ leading scorer, Danny Granger, has been preaching that he would prefer to play the Bulls over the more postseason experienced Celtics. He told indystar.com’s Bob Kravitz:
“Boston’s a different monster,” Granger said last weekend. “They don’t have the best record in the East, but they won championships; they know how to do it. They have four, five guys you have to worry about . . .
“Chicago, they go as Derrick Rose goes. If you make a concerted effort to stop Derrick Rose, you have a better chance of beating them.”
And, no, Granger isn’t backing off.
“Regardless of how (Boston) played after the All-Star break, a veteran team like that — like the Lakers, too — once they get in the playoffs, they can turn on that switch,” he said Tuesday.
Read Kravitz’s full story here on indystar.com.
Nothing like a little bulletin-board material to start the playoffs with.
The Celtics first round playoff opponent will be against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the New York Knickerbockers, who had their seven-game winning streak snapped last night by the Bulls. The Celtics and Knicks start their playoff series on Sunday night at 7 pm ET in Boston on TNT.
There are two other games scheduled for Saturday. The Philadelphia 76ers will open in Miami against LeBron and the Heat which ABC will televise at 3:30 pm ET.
Orlando will host the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night at 7pm ET on ESPN.
The rest of the first-round games and complete series, dates and times should be announced on Thursday by the NBA.