18 April 2013

2013 NBA Playoffs: 1st Round Predictions

What an NBA season it has been, but the fun is only beginning as the playoffs kick off this Saturday. Here are my predictions for the 1st Round.

TV Schedule

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks
Good job by the Bucks to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 amid Scott Skiles' resignation early in the season. But they have no chance against the Heat. Hate to say it, but it's true.
Heat in 4

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics
Lot of eyes will be on this series and it should be fun with one of the league's older rivalries taking shape in the playoffs. Boston is undermanned without Rajon Rondo but they will not let the Knicks go easily as they will grind it out offensively and will fight tough on defense. They do have a good matchup as their defense is strong when offenses get into isolation sets, as the Knicks often do. However, their offense will not have enough firepower to pull off the upset.
Knicks in 7

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks
I am feeling an upset in this series. Yes, I do like this Pacers club even without Danny Granger, Paul George has been tremendous this year and Frank Vogel is an underrated coach. But I don't like how they finished the regular season losing four our of their last five and while their defense is awesome, Atlanta's is not far behind. The Hawks also have a nice variety on offense, are probably more athletic than Indiana and can hit the shot from the perimeter very well. 
Hawks in 7

(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls
While P.J. Carlesimo has done a tremendous job after taking the reins of the Nets from Avery Johnson, and their offense is pretty deep with multiple scorers that can go off, this will be a tough series for the Nets to win. Chicago is about as healthy as they have been all year and while their offense is not pretty, their defense is and will give the Nets fits.
Bulls in 5

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets
I mentioned that the Rockets would be a fun team to watch in the postseason in my 2012-13 NBA Awards post, and they certainly will give it a go as the big underdogs. But while their offense is explosive, it is not what the Thunder have offensively and unless James Harden turns into Michael Jordan, OKC will advance. But it should be a fun series nonetheless.
Thunder in 5

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers
You know, if the Lakers had Kobe Bryant, I would strongly consider taking them in an upset over the Spurs with how well they have played down the stretch, how Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have been playing well together in the paint and Steve Nash is coming back from injury. But the loss of Kobe will be too much to overcome, but this should still be a good series.
Spurs in 6

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors
We have ourselves two excellent offense in full display in this series but with differing styles. Denver loves to pound the paint while Golden States loves to stroke it from deep. Being without Danilo Gallinari will hurt, especially if the Warriors get hot from deep as we all know that they can, but the Nuggets have more than enough athleticism on the perimeter to compensate. 
Nuggets in 6

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies
Nothing like a rematch from a year ago of one of the better series of the postseason, with the Clippers winning in seven. But while the Clippers are pretty loaded, particularly offensively, I do not love this matchup for them because I think the Grizzlies and their excellent defense has the capability to force the Clippers to play at their pace. 
Grizzlies in 7

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