NBA playoff schedule 2019: Warriors-Rockets game dates, tip-off times

NBA playoff schedule 2019: Warriors-Rockets game dates, tip-off times

After the Rockets pushed the Warriors to the brink of playoff elimination last year, NBA fans have been salivating at the thought of watching James Harden, Chris Paul and Co. get another chance at dethroning the two-time defending champions.

That thought becomes reality Sunday, with the Rockets scheduled to visit the Warriors for Game 1 at 12:30 p.m. PT in Oakland.

Fans can watch pregame and postgame coverage of Game 1 -- and the entire NBA playoff second-round series -- on NBC Sports Bay Area and the MyTeams app.

Dates and tip-off times for Games 2, 3 and 4 also were released Friday night, minutes after the Warriors eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in their first-round series.

Here's the entire Warriors-Rockets playoff series schedule, as Houston tries to pay back Golden State for last year's epic seven-game Western Conference finals.

Game 1 -- Sunday, April 28, at 12:30 p.m. PT in Oakland
Game 2 -- Tuesday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. PT in Oakland
Game 3 -- Saturday, May 4, at 5:30 p.m. PT in Houston
Game 4 -- Monday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m. PT in Houston
Game 5 -- Wednesday, May 8, time TBD in Oakland (if necessary)
Game 6 -- Friday, May 10, time TBD in Houston (if necessary)
Game 7 -- Sunday, May 12, time TBD in Oakland (if necessary)

May the best team win this best-of-seven showdown.

Warriors projected to face Clippers in playoffs by ESPN real plus-minus

Warriors projected to face Clippers in playoffs by ESPN real plus-minus

With the absence of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson's torn ACL and so many changes to multiple teams, the Western Conference is more wide open than ever for the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season. 

The Warriors' time ruling the West might have come to an end, too. Golden State lost Durant to Brooklyn and will miss Thompson's two-way play for multiple months. For these reasons, ESPN's real-plus minus has the Warriors finishing the regular season closer to the No. 8 seed than the No. 1 seed. 

The projection system predicts the Warriors to be the No. 6 seed in the West. Since RPM debuted after the Warriors' first title under coach Steve Kerr, the equation has projected the Warriors to win at least 60 wins. Not anymore. 

Golden State's new-look squad is projected to have just 46.5 wins by ESPN's RPM. The Warriors have won at least 57 games in each of Kerr's five years coaching the team. 

According to the projection system, the Warriors will have fewer wins than the Rockets, Nuggets, Clippers, Jazz and Lakers. It has the Mavericks and Blazers rounding out the top-eight seeds, with the Kings barely missing the playoffs. 

This would set up a Warriors-Clippers matchup in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The two teams opened up the playoffs this past season, and the Clippers surprisingly pushed the Warriors to six games. But the Clips revamped their roster this offseason, adding stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

[RELATED: Myers explains what attracted Warriors to D'Angelo Russell]

By the time the playoffs roll around, the Warriors should have Thompson back and well understanding of each other with many new faces playing together. 

If this is how the first round of the playoffs turn out, we could be in for a treat right away. 

NBA rumors: Dwight Howard, Lakers have 'mutual interest' in reunion

NBA rumors: Dwight Howard, Lakers have 'mutual interest' in reunion

The domino effect of DeMarcus Cousins' torn ACL has begun. The Lakers went from a bruising center who can dish and drain 3-pointers to a possible wild reunion in Hollywood. 

Los Angeles reportedly is interested in bringing back center Dwight Howard, and there's mutual interest between the two sides, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Sunday morning. 

Howard, who turns 34 in December, was traded by the Wizards to the Grizzlies this offseason, but Memphis is expected to eventually release the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howard has every accolade a player would want, but his abilities are stuck in the past. 

The big man played just nine games last year for the Wizards where he averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game before injuries derailed his season. Injuries and basketball turning into more of a perimeter game have diminished Howard's value in recent seasons. 

He's also played for the Lakers once before and that turned out to be a disaster. Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game for the Lakers in the 2012-13 season, but L.A. was swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Lakers' only true center on their roster currently is JaVale McGee, who is best used as a lob threat off the bench. It's hard to imagine either Howard or McGee as a solid starter at this point in their careers.

Losing Cousins clearly is a big blow to the Lakers. It could also help the Warriors' in their push for a higher playoff seed and the Kings as a team fighting to end a 13-year postseason drought. 

[RELATED: Cousins needs ex-Warriors teammates' support after torn ACL]

The Lakers have sky-high expectations with LeBron James and Anthony Davis teaming up. Nobody expected Howard to be on the same squad. 

Now, the Warriors and Kings can take advantage of the loss of their former center.