An especially long, cold winter nears its end this weekend, bringing more sun, higher temperatures and beautiful, blooming flowers. As folks around the country get outside to enjoy the weather and appreciate life, we all know what you'll be doing: WATCHING PLAYOFF BASKETBALL.
On Saturday, the first round of the NBA postseason tips off with an all-day slate that should be exciting for any hoops enthusiast. Starting early in the afternoon and lasting all day, we're talking 12 hours of serious, tanking-free basketball to fix whatever ails you. Spring has sprung -- as they say, time for hoops!
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Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors, Game 1
12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The playoffs open live from Canada with the Nets visiting Toronto to open their seven-game series. Last time these teams played, Brooklyn notched a 101-97 win over the Raptors on March 10, splitting the season series after Toronto had won the previous two games.
The Nets stumbled a bit to end the regular season, losing four of their final five games despite playing all lottery teams. The team was shorthanded in many of those games, however, and has wins over Miami and Houston this month. After going just 16-25 on the road this season, getting an early win in Toronto could potentially swing the series in Brooklyn's direction.
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Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Game 1
3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Expect no shortage of fireworks when the day's marquee matchup tips off from Los Angeles. The Warriors and Clippers have been engaged in a bit of trash talking this week, presumably originating from the physical bout between the two teams on Christmas Day that saw two ejections and lots of swinging elbows.
On the court, the Clippers boast the most efficient offense in the league, per NBA.com, while the Warriors finished No. 12. Combined with the pace these guys play at -- Golden State plays the league's sixth-fastest pace, L.A. is seventh -- and you can expect a whole lot of points in this series.
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Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 1
7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Arguably the most lopsided matchup in the postseason, depending on which version of Indiana shows up. The Pacers looked to be a juggernaut earlier this season, but some highly publicized stumbles over the past couple months have clouded the team's contender status.
Still, facing an Atlanta team that won just 38 games and won't have All-Star big man Al Horford, the Pacers shouldn't have any issues getting through this round. Even though the two teams split a four-game regular season series, with the Hawks getting a 19-point win in Indiana earlier this month, it's difficult to see that happening in the playoffs.
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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Game 1
9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Saturday schedule concludes with the Grizzlies visiting Oklahoma City for a pivotal Game 1 matchup against the Thunder. Getting behind in a series against Kevin Durant and company would presumably be the end for Memphis, so expect the team to be aggressive in trying to win at least one game before bringing the series home for Game 3.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will likely be the game-changers for the Grizzlies. If they can help to dictate the game inside and limit what Durant and Russell Westbrook do around the rim, it's possible Memphis turns this into a surprisingly competitive series. After all, the Grizz did win 40 of their final 57 games this season.