2009 NBA Playoffs Begin Saturday on ESPN & ABC

ESPN’s comprehensive multimedia coverage of the 2009 NBA Playoffs will begin with five games this weekend, including four games Saturday, April 18 – the Boston Celtics and Paul Pierce hosting the Chicago Bulls and Rookie of the Year candidate Derrick Rose at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN; the Detroit Pistons and Rip Hamilton visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James at 3 p.m. on ABC; the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki at the San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan at 8 p.m. on ESPN; and the Houston Rockets and Yao Ming vs. the Portland Trail Blazers and Brandon Roy at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN. Additionally, the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant will host the Utah Jazz and Deron Williams Sunday, April 19, at 3 p.m. on ABC.

Mike Breen will call both ABC broadcasts with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters. ABC’s GMC NBA Countdown, with host Stuart Scott and analysts Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry (Sunday) will preview both weekend games at 2:30 p.m. ESPN commentators for Saturday’s games: Dan Shulman, analyst Jon Barry and reporter Nancy Lieberman for Bulls/Celtics; Mike Tirico, analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Heather Cox for Mavericks/Spurs; Dave Pasch, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Ric Bucher for Rockets/Trail Blazers. Kia NBA Shootaround, with host Mark Jones and analysts Avery Johnson and Jalen Rose, will preview the ESPN games Saturday at 12 p.m. Stuart Scott and analyst Jamal Mashburn will also contribute to Kia NBA Shootaround throughout the postseason

ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will present up to 44 NBA Playoff games including:

·         broader exclusivity – conference semifinal coverage will be exclusive on ESPN for the first time (all ABC broadcasts are exclusive);

  • the Western Conference Finals exclusively across ESPN and ABC;
  • The Finals exclusively on ABC.


All ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC games will be available in high definition.  All ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts will be available via ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV. 


ESPN Radio’s opening weekend coverage will include Houston/Portland Saturday, April 18 at 7:15 p.m., and Utah/Los Angeles Sunday, April 19 at 2:15 p.m.  Jim Durham will call both games with analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay. ESPN Deportes will televise Chicago/Boston Saturday, April 18, at 12:30 p.m.  Commentary will be provided by Spanish-language Emmy nominee Alvaro Martin (play-by-play) and analyst Carlos Morales, former coach of the Puerto Rican National Basketball team.


ESPN will present a one-hour SportsCenter Special: 2009 NBA Playoff Preview, with host Mark Jones and analysts Avery Johnson, Jamal Mashburn and Jalen Rose, Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m.


2009 NBA Playoffs First Round Schedule

All dates and times subject to change; Additional games/commentator assignments TBD


Date  Time (ET) Teams/Commentators Networks
Fri., April 17 7 p.m. SportsCenter Special: NBA Playoff Preview  ESPN, ESPN HD
    Mark Jones, Avery Johnson, Jamal Mashburn, Jalen Rose  
Sat., April 18 12 p.m. Kia NBA Shootaround ESPN, ESPN HD
    Mark Jones, Avery Johnson, Jalen Rose  
  12:30 p.m. Chicago at Boston, Game 1*  ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Dan Shulman, Jon Barry, Nancy Lieberman
  2:30 p.m. GMC NBA Countdown ABC, ABC HD
    Stuart Scott, Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon  
  3 p.m. Detroit at Cleveland, Game 1 ABC, ABC HD
    Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters  
  8 p.m. Dallas at San Antonio, Game 1  ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox
    Jim Durham, Dr. Jack Ramsay ESPN Radio
  10:30 p.m. Houston at Portland, Game 1  ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Dave Pasch, Doris Burke, Ric Bucher
Sun., April 19 2:30 p.m. GMC NBA Countdown ABC, ABC HD
    Scott, Barry, M. Johnson, Wilbon  
  3 p.m. Utah at Los Angeles, Game 1 ABC, ABC HD
    Breen, Jackson, Van Gundy, Salters  
Fri., April 24 7 p.m. Cleveland at Detroit, Game 3* ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
  7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Shootaround ESPN2, ESPN2 HD
  8 p.m. Orlando at Philadelphia, Game 3 ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN360.com
  9:30 p.m. Portland at Houston, Game 3 ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Sat., April 25 1 p.m. Denver at New Orleans, Game 4* ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
  9 p.m. Los Angeles at Utah, Game 4 ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Sun., April 26 12:30 p.m. GMC NBA Countdown ABC, ABC HD
  1 p.m. Boston at Chicago, Game 4 ABC, ABC HD
  3:30 p.m. Cleveland at Detroit, Game 4 ABC, ABC HD


NBA Playoffs Across ESPN Multimedia Platforms

ESPN will provide multimedia coverage of the NBA Playoffs across 16 platforms: ABC, ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS, ESPNEWS HD, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN International, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN The Magazine.


The Finals on ABC are scheduled to begin Thursday, June 4, with all games exclusively broadcast on ABC HD.  Additionally, for the 14th straight year, ESPN Radio will broadcast first- and second-round games, every game from both Conference Finals and The Finals.


ESPN NBA Playoffs Campaign Debuts (click links below to see video)

ESPN’s NBA Playoffs campaign began rotation this week on a variety of ESPN’s media assets including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com, Mobile ESPN and ESPN Radio. Highlighting the great moments from Playoff games of the past few years, the 30- and 15-second spots show performances by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs. Additional creative will begin airing today, April 16, and throughout the NBA Playoffs with topical storylines and game footage, and with the tag line “Where Will Amazing Happen This Year?”



SportsCenter will present game previews and reviews, in-depth highlights, postgame reaction, and comprehensive analysis from ESPN’s team of NBA analysts and reporters.


ESPN International

ESPN International will broadcast the NBA Playoffs throughout Latin America (South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean), the Middle East, Africa and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands).  Commentary and analysis will be provided in English, Spanish and Portuguese.  Additionally, ESPN International will broadcast the NBA Finals in Brazil, Sub-Sahara Africa, Oceania and Caribbean. For the first time, ESPN will simulcast all games on ESPN360 Mexico and Chile. ESPNdeportes.com will offer NBA Gamecast in Spanish.  NBA Playoffs coverage will include real-time stats, chats, blogs and video highlights.



ESPN.com’s 2009 NBA Playoffs section will feature pages dedicated to each NBA Playoff series with specific match-up previews, predictions, video highlights, stats, injury reports, team matchup history, schedules, TV listings, brackets, breakdowns, trend spotting (exclusively to ESPN Insider members) and more.  Additional features:

  • Daily playoff reporting courtesy of the Daily Dime and video from Daily Dime TV;
  • Scouting reports for every game and series from Scouts Inc.;
  • Video highlights of each postseason game and video scouting reports during The Finals;
  • SportsNation polls for each series and up to 65 chats in 65 days, or the entire length of the playoffs (scheduled chats include Houston’s Carl Landry Thursday, April 16; Golden State’s Jamal Crawford Friday, April 17; New Jersey’s Devin Harris Saturday, April 18; Milwaukee’s Damon Jones Sunday, April 19; and Dallas’ James Singleton Monday, April 20);
  • Live TrueHoop blogging from Henry Abbott and the TrueHoop Network;
  • All-time NBA franchise playoff rankings by ESPN.com stat analyst John Hollinger.


Complete coverage and in-depth feature stories by ESPN analysts, experts, writers and bloggers include Marc Stein, J.A. Adande, Chris Sheridan, John Hollinger, Ric Bucher, Chris Broussard, LZ Granderson, Scoop Jackson, David Thorpe, Mike Moreau, Henry Abbott and Kevin Arnovitz.



ESPN360.com will simulcast every game from ESPN and ESPN2 on the 24/7 broadband sports network.  


ESPN Mobile Properties

ESPN’s industry-leading mobile Web site will deliver complete coverage of the NBA Playoffs including scores, news, analysis, GameCasts, alerts and more.


On ESPN Mobile TV, the 24/7 mobile video network available on MediaFLO and MobiTV, hoops fans can watch complete, live simulcasts of every ESPN and ESPN2 telecast throughout the NBA Playoffs.


ESPN Classic

ESPN Classic will televise an NBA Playoffs marathon Friday, April 17, beginning at 3 p.m. including:

  • 3 p.m. – Utah vs. Houston, 1997 Western Conference Finals, Game 6: John Stockton hits a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Jazz their first birth in The Finals;
  • 5 p.m. – Chicago vs. Miami, 1992 Eastern Conference First Round, Game 3: Michael Jordan scores 56 points, with the Bulls completing a sweep of the Heat;
  • 7 p.m. – Atlanta vs. Boston, 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7: Larry Bird edges Dominique Wilkins in a fourth quarter shootout, posting 20 points in the quarter as the Celtics won 118-116;
  • 9 p.m. – Cleveland vs. Boston, 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7: LeBron James scores 45 points, but Paul Pierce delivers 41 points and the win for Boston, as the Celtics win 97-92 to advance to The Finals.