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2021 NBA Playoffs: Bracket, first-round schedule, and TV info

(Photo Credit: NBA)

Just seven months after the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Finals, 16 teams are ready to begin their postseason journeys with the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

Starting on May 22, eight teams from each conference will look to cap off one of the most unique seasons in NBA history, looking to prove that their efforts throughout a 72-game regular season impacted by COVID-19 were all worth it.

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As if the 2020 NBA Playoffs weren’t crazy enough inside the bubble in Florida, the storylines are endless when taking a look at the bracket for the 2021 postseason.

The Utah Jazz are on the rise, landing the top seed in a loaded Western Conference after a 52-20 campaign. Not too far behind are the Phoenix Suns, who went from missing out on the playoffs to earning the second seed with a 51-21 regular season record.

Meanwhile, the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George-led Los Angeles Clippers find themselves in the middle of the Western Conference fray as the fourth seed, while the reigning champion Lakers had to win a play-in game to squeak into the bracket as the seventh seed.

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On the Eastern Conference side, the Milwaukee Bucks fell from the top of the standings in 2020 to the third seed in 2021, while the Philadelphia 76ers beat out the star-powered Brooklyn Nets by one game to earn the top seed.

The reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat find themselves as the sixth seed and will square off with the Bucks for the second year in a row.

How about the Boston Celtics, their opponent from the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals? They found themselves in a similar situation as the Lakers as it related to the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, and drew the Nets for their first-round matchup.

With so many superstars in the playoff field and so many top-tier matchups, the first round is guaranteed to provide fireworks throughout the end of May and the beginning of June.

Before the 2021 NBA Playoffs truly get underway, here’s the schedule and available TV information for each first-round series:

(AP Photo / Matt Slocum)

Eastern Conference:

No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 8 Washington Wizards

Game 1: Sunday, May 23 at 1 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 at 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Game 3: Saturday, May 29, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4: Monday, May 31 at 7 p.m. ET at TNT
Game 5 (if needed): Wednesday, June 2, time TBD
Game 6 (if needed): Friday, June 4, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Sunday, June 6, time TBD

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics

Game 1: Saturday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Friday, May 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 4: Sunday, May 30 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 6 (if needed): Thursday, June 3, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Saturday, June 5, time TBD

No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 6 Miami Heat

Game 1: Saturday, May 22 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2: Monday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Thursday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 4: Saturday, May 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET on TNT

No. 4 New York Knicks vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

Game 1: Sunday, May 23 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Friday, May 28 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 30 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 6 (if needed): Friday, June 4, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Sunday, June 6, time TBD

(AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)

Western Conference:

No. 1 Utah Jazz vs. No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies

Game 1: Sunday, May 23 at 9:30 p.m. on TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Saturday, May 29 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4: Monday, May 31 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 5: Wednesday, June 2, time TBD on NBA TV
Game 6 (if needed): Friday, June 4, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Sunday, June 6, time TBD

No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

Game 1: Sunday, May 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Thursday, May 27 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 4: Sunday, May 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 6 (if needed): Thursday, June 3, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Saturday, June 5, time TBD

No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers

Game 1: Saturday, May 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2: Monday, May 24 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Thursday, May 27 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Game 4: Saturday, May 29 at 4 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 at 9 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Game 6 (if needed): Thursday, June 3, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Saturday, June 5, time TBD

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks

Game 1: Saturday, May 22 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Game 3: Friday, May 28 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 30 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 6 (if needed): Friday, June 4, time TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Sunday, June 6, time TBD

How do you think the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs will turn out? Let us know by following @SOTSports on Twitter or by liking our Facebook page!

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