Paul Christian: All set for NBA, NHL playoffs

NBA playoffs? NHL playoffs?

NHL payoffs? NBA playoffs?

Whatever, you'll be able to watch every game of both playoffs, playoffs which will stretch to at least the middle of June.

The NBA payoffs start on Saturday with an ESPN/ABC quadruple-header — Brooklyn and Toronto, Golden State and Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta and Indiana and Memphis and Oklahoma City.

Coverage on TNT begins on Sunday. ESPN will air the Eastern Conference finals starting on Tuesday, May 20 while TNT has the Western Conference finals which start on May 21.


ABC has the NBA Finals (starting June 5), which will switch from the old 2-3-2 format to a 2-2-1-1-1. The 2-3-2 has been in use since 1985.

Another change, the NFL Draft is two weeks later than usual this year and since ESPN will air the first round of the draft on Thursday, May 8, second round NBA coverage is moving to ESPN2 that night. ESPN has not televised a second-round game since 2003.

Mike Breen, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters will have a busy weekend calling games on ABC. On Saturday, they will do the Golden State at Los Angeles Clippers at 2:30 p.m. and then fly across country to Miami for Sunday's 2:30 p.m. game between the defending NBA champion Heat and Charlotte.

In the NHL, until lately, not all of the games were televised but that has changed. Two years ago, 87 games were on and last year 88 games were televised.

Most games will be on the NBC Sports Network, and others on CNBC and the NHL Network.

All of the first-round Wild playoff games are exclusive to Fox Sports North. On game day, there is an hour pregame and a postgame show on FS North..

The Wild-Colorado series started on Thursday night and continues on Saturday, with faceoff at 8:30 p.m.

Around the tube


• The final round of the Masters on CBS was down 24 per cent from last year and four percent from 2012. It was also the lowest rating for a final round since 2004.

That could be attributed to no Tiger Woods, no Phil Mickelson and basically no drama on the final day.

Speaking of Woods, does he move the ratings' dial? Yes. Last year, for instance, on Friday's second round, ESPN did a record 3.0 rating (4.2 million viewers). This year, same time slot, the rating dropped 40 percent to 1.8 (3 million viewers).

• It will be announced that Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be the top on-air voices when Fox debuts its golf coverage next year. The two will be on the 18th tower for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay outside of Seattle.

Neither Buck or Norman have ever announced golf on TV before. Buck also serves as lead announcer for Fox' coverage of the NFL and for Major League Baseball. He is said to be a scratch golfer.

Fox gained the rights to the U.S. Open from NBC last August as part of a 12-year deal with the USGA worth more than $1 billion.

• Fox football inside Jay Glazer talked about a near-death experience Thursday on the Dan Patrick Show.

He went in to dissolve a piece of disc that broke in his back.


After being given anesthesia, Glazer vomited into the face cradle. The stomach contents ended up in his lungs, and the acid burned the tissue.

Glazer started convulsing, and the doctors revived him. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he spent four days recovering from aspiration double pneumonia.

Once Glazer was out of the woods, doctors explained that the outcome could have been much more dire.

"It could go one of two ways," Glazer said, "and for a while I was going the wrong way."

• ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 announced six primetime college football games involving Big Ten teams.

Games are Virginia Tech at Ohio State (Sept. 6), Miami (Fla.) at Nebraska (Sept. 20), Nebraska at Michigan State (Oct. 4), Penn State at Michigan (Oct. 11), Ohio State at Penn State (Oct. 25) and Illinois at Ohio State (Nov. 1) .

• Wisconsin will play a primetime game against LSU from Houston on Saturday, Aug. 30. At 7:30 a.m. that day, Penn State meets Central Florida from Dublin, Ireland.

• The NFL is expected to release the 2014 schedule in primetime on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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