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Basketball fanatics can finally start to plan their next few months in front of the TV after the NBA revealed the schedule for the second half of the 2021 campaign.
As contracted, the action will be broadcast live on TNT, ESPN and ABC, with additional content available on NBA TV and ESPN Radio, when the business end of the season resumes in March.
The action will commence with the Dallas Mavericks hosting the San Antonio Spurs. Then, the Denver Nuggets, who remain among the leading NBA picks for success in the Western Conference, travel to the Memphis Grizzlies. The NBA TV tripleheader will conclude with the Indiana Pacers’ visit to take on the LA Lakers, who remain the sportsbook favorites to win the NBA Championship despite their sluggish start to the term.
ESPN Radio joins the fray when they air the Los Angeles Clippers, who are among the ‘sleeper’ plays in many NBA predictions after their 24-13 first half, and their hosting of the New Orleans Pelicans.
An April to Remember
The second half of the season really takes hold in April, and TNT will be on hand to broadcast a number of mouth-watering encounters. The Lakers take on Miami Heat in a repeat of the 2020 NBA Finals on April 8, and that will be followed immediately after by the Clippers against the Phoenix Suns.
ABC will continue to broadcast a handful of games as part of their Sunday Showcase and Saturday Primetime shows. They’ll serve up the unmissable LA derby between the Lakers and the Clippers on April 4, and then six days later LeBron’s boys will head to Brooklyn to tackle the Nets, which could well be the Finals line-up come May, according to some NBA tips providers.
ESPN have got a tremendous doubleheader in April too. The Utah Jazz, something of a surprise package amid their 27-8 record, take on reigning champions the Lakers twice in the space of three days on the 17th and 19th of the month. Five days later, the Jazz tackle the Nets in a cross-Conference showdown.
The Philadelphia 76ers lead the way in the Eastern Conference, and while the NBA plays of some pundits would suggest their reign may be short-lived, viewers can see Philly in action against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 22 and 24 in a double-header that will help to determine the outcome of the regular season.
As for the final week of the campaign, the schedule has yet to be set in stone – broadcasters will handpick the most appetizing of the games with the most riding on them ahead of the postseason. TNT and ESPN will host doubleheaders throughout May, however.
Getting Down to Business
The NBA Play-In tournament will run from May 18-21 for those who end up close but no cigar in the standings, with the Playoffs getting underway on the 22nd. For now, we don’t know which franchises will qualify for the postseason nor which broadcasters will handle each game, but the current standings suggest all of the big hitters will be in the mix for honors.
The Nets will fancy their chances of topping the Eastern Conference now that they have James Harden on board, while the Bucks and the 76ers may well be knocking on the door too. Watch out for a late-season burst from the Washington Wizards, with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook shaping up nicely. In the West, the anticipated LA shutout has been shut down by the Jazz, so can they or fellow surprise package Phoenix Suns cause an almighty upset?
Sadly, there are those who will have to miss out on the prime time action, and right now Nikola Jokic could be one superstar that isn’t on our TV screens in the postseason. His Denver Nuggets side are really struggling to break the top six in the Western Conference, although they are hot on the heels of the Portland Trail Blazers – the Serbian will be hoping to lift his team higher.
The renaissance of the Golden State Warriors hasn’t been as forceful as many NBA betting tips had suggested at the start of the term, so Steph Curry may once again miss out on the postseason.
Whatever happens, at least you can kick back and relax safe in the knowledge that you can watch all of the drama unfold at home on the couch.