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Even if the final outcome stays the same, this year’s NBA postseason contains fresh faces ushering in a new era.
For the first time since the 2004-2005 campaign, LeBron James will not partake in the playoffs. That also means he won’t represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals for the first time in nine years.
Since both of his former squads (Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat) failed to qualify, fans no longer need to watch two months of postseason basketball just to see the same closing matchup. Of course, that may merely mean the Golden State Warriors conquer a different club to hoist their third straight title.
Although the Warriors didn’t dominate throughout the season, the oddsmakers aren’t expecting a new script. Per Caesars Palace, they are the overwhelming favorite to three-peat as champions:
B/R Betting @br_betting
Updated NBA Title odds 💰
(via @CaesarsPalace) https://t.co/4Qnv4gXmDU
That’s still months away, though, as each round follows a best-of-seven format. The action commences this weekend, featuring five franchises that watched last year’s proceedings from home. Luckily the NBA no longer awards preferential treatment to division winners, as the 42-40 Orlando Magic are seeded No. 7 despite claiming the Southeast.
Let’s take a look at the opening schedule before surveying the East’s post-James landscape.
The 2019 #NBAPlayoffs are set!
Games begin on Saturday, April 13th. https://t.co/4ERS0ZeywQ
No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Detroit Pistons
Game 1 at Milwaukee, April 14 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 2 at Milwaukee, April 17 at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Game 3 at Detroit, April 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4 at Detroit, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
*Game 5 at Milwaukee, April 24 at TBD on TBD
*Game 6 at Detroit, April 26 at TBD on TBD
*Game 7 at Milwaukee, April 28 at TBD on TBD
No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Orlando Magic
Game 1 at Toronto, April 13 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2 at Toronto, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3 at Orlando, April 19 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4 at Orlando, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT
*Game 5 at Toronto, April 23 at TBD on TBD
*Game 6 at Orlando, April 25 at TBD on TBD
*Game 7 at Toronto, April 27 at TBD on TNT
No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
Game 1 at Philadelphia, April 13 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2 at Philadelphia, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3 at Brooklyn, April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 4 at Brooklyn, April 20 at 3 p.m. ET on TNT
*Game 5 at Philadelphia, April 23 at TBD on TBD
*Game 6 at Brooklyn, April 25 at TBD on TBD
*Game 7 at Philadelphia, April 27 at TBD on TNT
No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers
Game 1 at Boston, April 14 at 1 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 2 at Boston, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3 at Indiana, April 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 4 at Indiana, April 21 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC
*Game 5 at Boston, April 24 at TBD on TBD
*Game 6 at Indiana, April 26 at TBD on TBD
*Game 7 at Boston, April 28 at TBD on TBD
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers
Game 1 at Golden State, April 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 2 at Golden State, April 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3 at Los Angeles, April 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 4 at Los Ange