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2011 NBA Playoffs: Oprah Defeats Bulls

The Bulls dispatched the Atlanta Hawks Thursday night and thus set up a date with the Miami Heat in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals starting Tuesday, May 17... but wait, that isn't right. You know that the Bulls will be home to the Heat on Sunday, May 15.


And why is this? According to the Hollywood Reporter, it's thanks to the taping of the final Oprah Winfrey Show, scheduled for Tuesday at the United Center:

TNT's studio commentator Charles Barkley told ESPN Radio how he found out about the rescheduling.↵


"We just got the e-mail saying we were supposed to start next Tuesday, but Oprah has it then," he said. "So they said, well let's do it Monday. Oprah is having one of her last shows, so she's got the United Center locked up. They're going to set up Monday and tape her show Tuesday. So they just sent out an e-mail and said prepare to go to Chicago and start Game 1 Sunday afternoon. They're going to move it up three days, for Oprah."


This is also why Game 2, which would normally follow on Tuesday at the UC, is now scheduled for Wednesday (and, as shown below, there's also a long gap between games 2 and 3). Here's the complete Eastern Conference finals schedule (all games televised on TNT; all times Central):

Game 1: Sun., May 15 at the UC, 7 p.m.
↵Game 2: Wed., May 18 at the UC, 7:30 p.m.
↵Game 3: Sun., May 22 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.
↵Game 4: Tue., May 24 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.
↵Game 5: Thu., May 26 at the UC, 7:30 p.m.*
↵Game 6: Sat., May 28 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.*
↵Game 7: Mon., May 30 at the UC, 7:30 p.m.*
↵* if necessary