Sunday, May 5, 2013

2013 NBA Playoff Predictions - Conference Semi-Finals

Western Confernce Finals

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder vs #5- Memphis Grizzlies - 

Having an NBA finals match-up that featured the Thunder and the Heat again is a very realistic possibility, but a fairly common trend in pro sports is that the two top seeds very rarely face each other in the finals. With that said the Heat are definitely going to the finals. I don't think there is a team that is strong enough to beat them in the East. The West on the other hand is a different story. The Thunder looked quite vulnerable in the last half of that series against the Rockets and I have this feeling that they are not going to make it to the finals, especially now that Russell Westbrook is out. If this was a match-up against the Clippers like I originally thought it was going to be, then I think that would've been a good match-up for the Thunder, but the Grizzlies are a different story. I think this will be a close series, but I also think that the Grizzlies will be able to overpower  the Thunder with their really good defense and very potent offense.

Prediction: Grizzlies 4-3

#2- San Antonio Spurs vs #6- Golden State Warriors - 

I usually hate predicting a no upset round, but that is what I did in the first round and it turned out that I was indeed wrong. I don't count a 5 seed over a 4 seed as an upset, but the Warriors knocking off the Nuggets definitely was and I totally didn't see that coming. I also that that the Spurs would lose a game or two to the Lakers, but that didn't happen either. If Denver were to win, I think this would be a really bad match-up for the Spurs, but with Golden State winning I think they were a bit relieved because the Warriors are a much better match-up. Now it is not good at this point to completely write off the Warriors as they proved they are a dangerous team that definitely belongs in the playoffs. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the back court, they could provide the Spurs with some headaches, but I think the Spurs will wind up on top. The Warriors don't match up very well with the Spurs and they can't win in San Antonio. They have lost 29 straight games to the Spurs in San Antonio and that doesn't bode well. I think they could pull off a win, maybe two at home, but this could be a fairly fast series in favor of the Spurs.

Prediction: Spurs 4-1

Eastern Conference 

#1- Miami Heat vs #5- Chicago Bulls - 

I am staying committed to my opinion that I don't think any team in the playoffs will give a huge challenge to the Heat right now. It is of note that when the Heat were on their historical winning streak that the Bulls were the team to end that. If healthy, the Bulls are a very dangerous team that could give the Heat a lot of problems, but that is their exact problem. They can't stay healthy. If it's not one Bulls player getting injured, it's another. They managed to fight their way through the Nets, but I don't think they will be that lucky against the Heat. A banged up, tired Bulls team fresh off a long series against the Nets I think will fall and fall rather quickly. People remember that the Bulls beat the heat, but some forget that a couple weeks later the Heat all magically got back from injury and got their revenge pretty handily. The Heat will be fighting even harder in the playoffs and will probably dispose of a broken and bent up Bulls team pretty fast. I'm going to be semi bold and predict another sweep for the Heat

Prediction: Heat 4-0

#2- New York Knicks vs #3- Indiana Pacers

Out of all the first round match-ups, I think this one intrigues me the most. The Knicks at times look like the are good enough to upset the Heat in the Easter Conference, then there are the times that they just checkout like they did at times during the Celtics series. If they play like the former Knicks team they could win this series, but I am not confident that they will. The Pacers on the other hand are one of the more overlooked teams. Everyone spends their time talking about the Heat, Knicks, Nets, Bulls, and Celtics, but the Pacers just fly under the radar and are in fact the third best team in the East. With a stellar defense and an offense led by Most Improved Player winner Paul George, I think that the Pacers will win out in a close series and thus win the honor of getting trounced on by the Heat in the Conference Finals as I don't think either the Pacers or the Knicks stand a chance at beat the Heat. But maybe I shouldn't rain on their parade too soon.

Prediction: Pacers 4-3

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