NBA playoff schedule 2014: Wizards, Pacers, Clippers and Thunder kick off semifinals

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tough matchups in both conferences keep the playoffs rolling, with Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kevin Durant and Paul George all looking to lead their team to victory.

SB Nation 2014 NBA Playoff Bracket

Monday night's NBA action kicks off with two semifinal games, one in the East and one in the West. Indiana tries to get back on top against the Wizards, while the Clippers are riding a wave of emotion as they take on the Thunder. Let's check out the action.

Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 1

7 p.m. ET (TNT)

Washington did their best in the first round, and boy were they rewarded for it. After beating the Chicago Bulls in five games as the lower seed, the Wizards have drawn the Indiana Pacers in the semifinals. Back in January, that may have sounded like a death sentence. In May? Don't be so sure.

It took seven games for the flailing Pacers to put away the Atlanta Hawks in their first series, a fitting postseason example of Indiana's last three months of the regular season. The Pacers struggled with Atlanta's three-point proficiency and slashing guards, something at which the Wizards are even better. Of course, the worry is that at any given time, Indiana will flip a switch and turn back into the juggernaut they were before the All-Star Game. Round 2 is going to get interesting.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Game 1

9:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Los Angeles overcame more than a few obstacles on Saturday night. With the expulsion of owner Donald Sterling from the NBA, the Clippers truly were playing for themselves and their fan base in Game 7 against the Warriors, and they rose to the challenge. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be a huge obstacle to hurdle, offensively and defensively, for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

For the Thunder, getting their offense back in the groove was the key to their triumph over Memphis on Saturday. That bodes well for Scott Brooks, who has been picked apart for failing to create efficient schemes for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Pay special attention to the battle on the boards. Second chance opportunities, especially with DeAndre Jordan going head-to-head with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, will be a vital storyline all series.


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