NBA Playoffs: Your Complete Guide To Sunday's First Round Match-Ups

The final four Round-of-16 series get underway on Sunday night
00:00, 23 May 2021

After Saturday’s big playoff launch with four of the first-round series getting underway, the eight remaining teams in the running for the NBA Championship get their best-of-seven encounters going on Sunday night.

After the play-in tournament which saw the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and, most notably, the Golden State Warriors eliminated, those who have had the extra games to play now face those higher seeds who are widely tipped to go deep in the postseason.

Here’s a guide to what’s happening in Sunday night’s match-ups.

Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers – Game 1 Sunday 18:00BST

Regular Season:

Wizards – 8th in Eastern Conference (34-38)

Sixers – 1st in Eastern Conference (49-23)

Series schedule:

Game 2 Wednesday 26 May @ Philadelphia

Game 3 Saturday 29 May @ Washington

Game 4 Monday 31 May @ Washington

Game 5 Wednesday 2 June @ Philadelphia (if necessary)

Game 6 Friday 4 June @ Washington (if necessary)

Game 7 Sunday 6 June @ Phiadelphia (if necessary)

Season series – 3-0 Sixers

23/12/20: Wizards 107, Sixers 113

06/01/21: Wizards 136, Sixers 141

12/03/21: Sixers 127, Wizards 101

Betfred series winner odds:

Sixers 1/9

Wizards 5/1

Betfred NBA Championship odds:

Sixers 8/1

Wizards 125/1

There should only be one winner in this one, with the Wizards coming off a punishing two-game play-in tournament and now facing the best team in the East this season. They’ve already lost three times to the Sixers in 2020/21 and were a distant second-best in their most recent meeting. Everything is a bonus from here for Washington, who were 17-32 with 23 games remaining after several players had fallen foul of Covid-19 protocols.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns – Game 1 Sunday 20:30BST (Sky Sports Mix)

Regular Season:

Lakers – 7th in Western Conference (42-30)

Suns – 2nd in Western Conference (51-21)

Series schedule:

Game 2 Tuesday 25 May @ Phoenix

Game 3 Thursday 27 May @ Los Angeles

Game 4 Sunday 30 May @ Los Angeles

Game 5 Tuesday 1 June @ Phoenix (if necessary)

Game 6 Thursday 3 June @ Los Angeles (if necessary)

Game 7 Saturday 5 June @ Phoenix (if necessary)

Season series – 2-1 Suns

02/03/21: Suns 114, Lakers 104

21/03/21: Lakers 94, Suns 111

09/05/21: Suns 110, Lakers 123

Betfred series winner odds:

Lakers 4/9

Suns 13/8

Betfred NBA Championship odds:

Lakers 3/1

Suns 20/1

The Suns might be the higher seeds, but all the attention and expectation is on the NBA champion Lakers going into this series. This is Phoenix’s first playoff campaign in 11 years, and taking the scalp of LeBron James and the Lakers would be quite a statement after a really impressive 51-21 season. Coach Monty Williams has worked wonders since taking over a 19-63 Suns outfit two years ago, but will the champs be too much for him and his side?

 

Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks – Game 1 Monday 00:00BST

AtlantaHawksNewYorkKnicksjpg

Regular Season:

Hawks – 5th in Eastern Conference (41-31)

Knicks – 4th in Eastern Conference (41-31)

Series schedule:

Game 2 Wednesday 26 May @ New York

Game 3 Friday 28 May @ Atlanta

Game 4 Sunday 30 May @ Atlanta

Game 5 Wednesday 2 June @ New York (if necessary)

Game 6 Friday 4 June @ Atlanta (if necessary)

Game 7 Sunday 6 June @ New York (if necessary)

Season series – 3-0 Knicks

04/01/21: Knicks 113, Hawks 108

15/02/21: Hawks 112, Knicks 123

21/04/21: Hawks 127, Knicks 137

Betfred series winner odds:

Hawks 5/6

Knicks 5/6

Betfred NBA Championship odds:

Hawks 66/1

Knicks 66/1

With identical regular-season records, it is understandable that Betfred cannot split these two. That said, the Knicks have home advantage and history on the side, having won all three meetings this season and also come out on top in both of the previous playoff series in which these two have met. The Hawks, though, have got everyone talking about their fantastic offense, even if the Knicks’ sturdy defence could provide a stumbling block.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz – Game 1 Monday 02:30BST

Regular Season:

Grizzlies – 8th in Western Conference (38-34)

Jazz – 1st in Western Conference (52-20)

Series schedule:

Game 2 Wednesday 26 May @ Utah

Game 3 Saturday 29 May @ Memphis

Game 4 Monday 31 May @ Memphis

Game 5 Wednesday 2 June @ Utah (if necessary)

Game 6 Friday 4 June @ Memphis (if necessary)

Game 7 Sunday 6 June @ Utah (if necessary)

Season series – 3-0 Jazz

27/03/21: Grizzlies 114, Jazz 117

28/03/21: Grizzlies 110, Jazz 126

31/03/21: Jazz 111, Grizzlies 107

Betfred NBA Championship odds:

Jazz 8/1

Grizzlies 100/1

In any previous season, the Grizzlies wouldn’t have made it this far. Having finished ninth in the West, the overcame the Spurs in the new 9v10 play-in before seeing off the Warriors in the final eliminator. They now come up against the best team in the NBA, who also happen to have beaten them three times this season. The Jazz have been brilliant from the three-point line all year, and while some haven’t given them the credit they deserve for finishing above some underperforming bigger names, they’ll be tough to beat this postseason.

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