Hoops fans looking to watch NBA playoff basketball on TV over the next few nights will be disappointed. The four remaining teams are getting a few days rest before the conference finals begin on Sunday, May 13. There will be no NBA playoff games on the following days: Thursday, May 10, Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. This weeks marks the first time NBA fans have been without basketball since the playoffs started in April.
The No. 2 Boston Celtics host the No. 3 Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, May 13 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Western Conference Finals begin on Monday, May 14 at 9 p.m. Eastern on TNT as the No. 1 Houston Rockets host No. 2 Golden State Warriors. LeBron James and James Harden are just two of the remaining stars who were in need of rest. James spoke with ESPN after sweeping the Raptors about how much the Cavs needed time off.
“Oh, we’re about to get some rest,” James told ESPN. “Oh, I’m definitely about to get some rest. I’m going to get a lotta rest.”
Chris Paul noted after the Rockets won Game 5 that Harden had been playing under the weather, and could use the time off to recover. Paul will be playing in his first conference finals, but has his eyes on something bigger.
“Not at all [ready to celebrate]. Who plays just for that?” Paul told ESPN. “Know what I’m saying? Not at all, not at all. We’ve got eight more wins to get. I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
According to OddsShark, the Cavaliers are one point road favorites over the Celtics in Game 1. The Rockets are favored by 1.5 points over the Warriors in Game 1. The Cavs are favored to win the series at -280, while the Celtics are underdogs at +235. Golden State is favored with -180 odds, while Houston is +160 in the odds. The Warriors are the favorite to win another championship with -150 odds. Houston is second at +240, the Cavs are third at +550 and the Celtics are a distant fourth at +1600.
Houston made big moves this off-season particularly targeting this series, and how they would match up with the Warriors. Rockets GM Darryl Morey called his organization “obsessed” with the Warriors in a December 2017 interview with ESPN’s Ryen Russillo.
“It’s the only thing we think about,” Morey told ESPN. “I think I’m not supposed to say that, but we’re basically obsessed with ‘How do we beat the Warriors?’ Last year, the Spurs knocked us off, so we’re very worried about the Spurs. They’re always one step ahead of every organization and guard us better than anyone. But we calculated it — it’s like 90 percent if we’re gonna win a title, we’ve gotta obviously beat the Warriors at some point. So we’re extremely focused on that. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that.”
The Rockets brought in Paul in hopes it would be enough for them to top the Warriors. Fans will be tuning in on Monday to see if they can do just that.
Here’s a look at the NBA playoff television schedule for the first four games of the conference finals.
|Sun. May 13||Cavs vs. Celtics Game 1||3:30 p.m. ABC|
|Mon. May 14||Warriors vs. Rockets Game 1||9 p.m. TNT|
|Tues. May 15||Cavs vs. Celtics Game 2||8:30 p.m. ESPN|
|Wed. May 16||Warriors vs. Rockets Game 2||9 p.m. TNT|
|Sat. May 19||Celtics vs. Cavs Game 3||8:30 p.m. ESPN|
|Sun. May 20||Rockets vs. Warriors Game 3||8 p.m. TNT|
|Mon. May 21||Celtics vs. Cavs Game 4||8:30 p.m. ESPN|
|Tues. May 22||Rockets vs. Warriors Game 4||9 p.m. TNT|
Source: Heavy Sports