Boston at New York gets it all started at noon pacific time on ABC in the 2-7 East matchup. It wasn't that long ago that New York's hot start looked like a mirage, all smoke and mirrors and unsustainably hot three point shooting. Then the Knicks finished the season just as hot as they started it. The Celtics have dealt with significant injuries all season, and will be without Rajon Rondo in the playoffs. I think there's probably more than a few people who believe the Celtics can beat the Knicks in this series, but the regular season results would definitely argue otherwise.
Next up today is Golden State at Denver, the West's 3-6 series. This one figures to be an old-fashioned shootout with scores consistently in triple digits. The Nuggets have been the best team in the Western Conference for the past two months and have won 23 straight home games, but none of that matters if Stephen Curry goes into a trance and drops 50 on them. The altitude makes less of a difference in the playoffs when opponents have more time to acclimate and the Nuggets are dealing with injuries to three key players (Danilo Gallinari is out and Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried are returning from injury) but still Denver has been so good the second half of the season that barring some crazy shooting by the Warriors, you have to like the Nuggets chances. The game is on ESPN at 2:30 pacific.
The prelude to Clippers-Grizzlies will be Chicago-Brooklyn in the East's 4-5 matchup. The 4-5's are by definition the most evenly matched series and indeed this one is tough to call. After watching the Warriors and Nuggets you might think there's something wrong with your TV when the Bulls and Nets start playing -- like it's permanently stuck in slow motion. The Eastern Conference has played at a slower pace all season, and the Bulls and Nets were 27th and 28th in the NBA in pace -- so it's Lawler's Law East, first to 80 wins. The game is on ESPN at 5:00 pacific, followed by Clippers-Grizzlies at 7:30.
The Clippers and Grizzlies finally get started at 7:30 on Fox Sports West -- not Prime Ticket -- tonight.