Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 NBA Playoffs: 1st Round Picks

Expect 3 sweeps and 2 Game Sevens in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs.

HEAT vs. Bucks
Prediction: HEAT sweep

Explanation: The only advantage the Bucks have going into the series is at PG and maybe that's why Brandon Jennings felt so confident talking shit. The problem for Jennings is the HEAT's PG production will improve in the playoffs when Erik Spoelstra removes Norris Cole from the rotation. The only hope for the Bucks to steal a game is to go big in the frontcourt with John Henson or Samuel Dalembert playing with Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders, but I doubt Bucks coach Jim Boylan will place that much trust in a rookie or rarely used vet in the playoffs.

Nets vs. Bulls
Prediction: Nets in 7

Explanation: In a series that will be a #RockFight offensively, who will stop Reggie Evans from eating glass and spitting out 2nd chance points for the Nets? The Bulls can't win this series without a healthy Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to help Carlos Boozer battle on the boards. Of course, all bets are off if Deron Williams gets injured so expect Kirk Hinrich to thug it up on defense.

Pacers vs. Hawks
Prediction: Hawks in 6

Explanation: Pacers are the better team by a wide margin but the media will be annoying as fuck if they advance to the Eastern Conference Semis. The Pacers will go from being ignored to the focus of either a bunch of Knicks-Pacers flashbacks from the 1990s or Larry Bird interviews if they face the Celtics. In order for the Hawks to pull off the upset, Al Horford will need Josh Smith and Jeff Teague to join him in having a big series against the Pacers D. George Hill's groin injury may make that easier, but it will take a miracle for Josh Smith to outplay David West. I'll be rooting for one.

Knicks vs. Celtics
Prediction: Knicks in 7

Explanation: The Knicks should beat the Celtics in 5 games, but I think the series will come down to the last man standing as both teams struggle with injuries. Tyson Chandler's got a bad neck, Paul Pierce has played with nerve damage all season and Kevin Garnett's got #OldManProblems. Plus, I'm a Hoyas fan, so I'll be rooting for Jeff Green to come up big against Carmelo Anthony.

Thunder vs. Rockets
Prediction: Thunder sweep

Explanation: Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka will dominate their frontcourt matchups and Russell Westbrook will be the best player in the backcourt. James Harden? OKC will make him look average in this series.

Clippers vs. Grizzlies
Prediction: Clippers in 5

Explanation: The Clippers' bench enabled the starters to average the fewest minutes per game in the NBA this season despite being the 4th-most productive. If Vinny Del Negro doesn't try to keep that deep bench happy and plays his starters an extra 10 minutes per game, then there's no button Lionel Hollins will be able to push for the Grizzlies to keep up. Hopefully the Grizzlies bandwagon crashes and burns after this series and we never have to hear about them being contenders again.

Nuggets vs. Warriors
Prediction: Warriors in 6

Explanation: The Nuggets have an advantage at every position, so the Warriors will need Mark Jackson to be creative and may need Steph Curry to perform like the best player in the series. The Warriors are the best defensive rebounding team in the NBA and the Nuggets are the best offensive rebounding team, so the series will likely be won on the glass. Jackson can either go big with Carl Landry at SF or go small and hope they score so many points that George Karl gets suckered into going small and forfeiting Denver's advantage on the offensive glass. It'll be a miracle if he chooses either option and they work, but that's what I'll be rooting for.

Spurs vs. Lakers
Prediction: Spurs sweep

Explanation: The Spurs have an advantage at four positions and are capable of neutralizing Dwight Howard (not saying they will, but they're capable). Popobitch owns D'Antoni when it comes to coaching strategies. This series will be easy work.

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