NBA playoffs 2018: Sixers’ 1st-round schedule vs. Miami Heat

The 2018 NBA playoff matchups are set, and the Sixers will start at home against the Miami Heat.They open in prime time, but the Sixers do not remain there once the series leaves Philadelphia after Game 2 on Monday night.Above is the schedule the NBA released in the middle of the night Thursday after all of the matchups were set.Below are more details on the first-round matchups via the Associated Press:MIAMI (AP) — The NBA playoffs that start this weekend already have an extremely tough act to follow.The regular season ended with a flourish.Wednesday’s final night of the regular season was well beyond dramatic — an overtime game between Minnesota and Denver decide the last berth, another overtime game between Miami and Toronto to determine some East fates, a 46-point first quarter by Philadelphia, an absurd 20-rebound, 19-assist night from Russell Westbrook.And now, the best time of the NBA year is finally here.The playoffs are back, with Golden State and Cleveland — who’ve met in the last three NBA Finals — not exactly looking like the overwhelming favorites the league has come to expect. A fourth straight Warriors-Cavs matchup is no guarantee. A fourth straight trip by either of those teams alone is far from certain, either.Sixers-Heat random thoughtsIt all starts Saturday, the 16-team tournament that will be a two-month grind following the six-month grind of the regular season.”I feel pretty ready,” Toronto guard Kyle Lowry said. “We’re ready to go.”So are 15 other teams.Start with the East pairings: Lowry and the top-seeded Raptors play No. 8 Washington, No. 2 Boston faces No. 7 Milwaukee, No. 3 Philadelphia gets No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Cleveland — with LeBron James bidding for an eighth consecutive appearance in The Finals — opening against No. 5 Indiana, a surprise team at the start of the season and one that isn’t a surprise anymore.”We’re one of 16 teams that have a chance to win a championship,” James said. “That’s all you can ask for.”Philadelphia, after years of the rebuilding saga known as “The Process,” has a chance as well. The 76ers are going into the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak.”Take a deep breath, then reload,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said, talking about what he wants his team to do before getting ready for Game 1.Out West, it’s No. 1 Houston meeting No. 8 Minnesota — which earned its berth by topping Denver in the NBA’s first win-and-get-in, lose-and-go-home regular-season finale in 21 years. No. 2 Golden State opens its quest for a third championship in four seasons against No. 7 San Antonio, No. 3 Portland drew No. 6 New Orleans and No. 4 Oklahoma City opens against No. 5 Utah.”The playoffs are about moments, and you just want a chance to have those moments,” Miami guard Dwyane Wade said.For the Timberwolves, Wednesday was a moment in itself. They needed overtime to beat the Nuggets and get into the postseason. It’s Minnesota’s first berth since 2004, and ended what was the NBA’s longest playoff drought (which now is bequeathed to the Sacramento Kings, who last played a playoff game in 2006).

Blogs

5 Questions Titans Minicamp Left Us With By: Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

The Titans wrapped up minicamp today without a third practice. Instead, the team traveled to the Metro Nashville Police Training Facility where the team was able to spend some time together off the field while also learning about gun safety. Mike Vrabel said the day was good for the team because they got to “be…

Minicamp Wrap-up Day 2: By Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

  “Once we got here, we became brothers. This is a family here.” These are the words of rookie offensive lineman Nico Falah, talking about his relationship with rookie defensive lineman Matt Dickerson. The two played opposite each other in college at USC and UCLA, but the past is the past and the two are…

OTA Wrap UP Day 1 By: Eli Hiskey and Alex Abernathy

  “Get better” was the message emphasized by defensive line coach Terrell Williams before practice. That message has carried from the D line to the rest of the team in a contagious manner as the Titans again showed improvement at Minicamp Day 1.   Offense: Marcus Mariota looked sharp all day, and his accuracy seemed…

OTA Wrap-Up: By Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

Offense:   Once again, Luke Falk was the first onto the practice field followed steps behind by Marcus Mariota. Mariota looked sharp by threading a few passes down the middle of the field and couple of long gains. Mariota struggled in the red zone though as he threw multiple times into windows too tight for…