2014 NBA playoff schedule: Pacers, Thunder try to bounce back

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder try to stop Memphis from mauling their playoff hopes while the Pacers try to pull it all back together. A full day of NBA playoff action starts early Saturday.

Playoff basketball goes hard in the paint Saturday, featuring four games sprinkled throughout the day. The Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder try to avoid a huge 3-1 hole on the road, the Dallas Mavericks host their first playoff game of the postseason, and the Miami Heat try to keep their sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats alive. Action begins at 2 p.m. ET and lasts through the rest of the evening.

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks, Game 4

2 p.m. ET (TNT)

The Pacers dropped Game 1, and you could feel the panic level rise. That level has risen dramatically after dropping Game 3 in Atlanta and falling behind 2-1 while on the road. Jeff Teague has been superb to open the playoffs, racking up points and draining crucial buckets as the Pacers top-tier defense looks out of sorts.

The Hawks have an opportunity to push the No. 1 seed to the brink of elimination with a win in Atlanta. They have the personnel to exploit Indiana's weakness on defense, and what seemed like an unlikely upset seems like a tangible outcome now. Tying the series on the road and getting back to Indiana at two games a piece could be the turning point the Pacers need to get back into this series and out of their nasty downward spiral.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks, Game 3

4:30 p.m. (TNT)

The Texas shootout packs up and heads to Dallas as the Mavericks and Spurs prepare to break a 1-1 series tie. The Mavericks struck last in San Antonio, blowing the Spurs apart in a 21-point victory. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis defend home court for the first time as teammates in what could be a turning point for this series in Dallas.

San Antonio looks to move on after a sloppy Game 2 performance. The Spurs turned the ball over 22 times to Dallas' seven and were out-rebounded. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will need to raise their play after combining for less points than Manu Ginobili scored off the bench.

Back-to-back games in Dallas that could determine the outcome of this knotted up series. Should be a good one.

Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats, Game 3

7 p.m. (ESPN)

The "Big Three" are looking for playoff win number three in their quest for a third straight title as they take their 2-0 lead to Charlotte. The Bobcats ended a playoff drought and host their first postseason game since April 26, 2010, but welcoming LeBron James and company is less than ideal.

James was dominant in Game 2, going off for 32 points eight assists, six rebounds and four steals as Miami held off a strong performance from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in Game 2. Al Jefferson will need to brush off a 39 percent shooting performance (9-23) to help the Bobcats avoid a bleak 3-0 hole against the defending champions.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Game 4

9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

And now, for your MAIN EVENT, the Thunder try to recuperate after getting their wind knocked out in their Game 3 overtime loss. The Grizzlies showed the ability to push back against the Thunder's dominant duo in Game 1 and have taken control of the series with back-to-back wins. Now, it's the Thunder with their backs against the ropes for the second postseason in a row.

Memphis would take a monumental leap to the next round with a win in Memphis before heading back to Oklahoma City. Forcing the Thunder into a position where they must win three-straight games, with one left in Memphis, could be a crushing blow to Oklahoma City. Seeing how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook respond to this high stakes game should be fascinating, though watching Tony Allen on defense has been just as intriguing.

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