The 2013 NBA Playoffs are practically here, mark your calendars Apr. 20. That's when the chaos begins as pro basketball features the best of the best in the battle for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Some spots are clearly defined, but there are still some seeds that need to be settled. Check out predictions for the first round matchups of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
So this is the situation in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat are the No. 1 seed as the second place New York Knicks are 10 games back. The good thing about the Knicks' 12-game winning streak is that it's propelling them over the third place Indiana Pacers as both teams were flip-flopping spots constantly for the past two weeks. The top spots looked defined.
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Further down in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets have a two-game lead over the Chicago Bulls while the Bulls are just one game ahead of the sixth place Atlanta Hawks.
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks look like they have their slots on lock as they will go into the playoffs in the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds.
Here are the projected matchups to set off the 2013 NBA Playoffs:
Miami Heat (1) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (8)
New York Knicks (2) vs. Boston Celtics (7)
Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Atlanta Hawks (6)
Brooklyn Nets (4) vs. Chicago Bulls (5)
The Bulls are the lowest scoring offense of the eight teams, which will prevent them from getting the fourth spot. However, over a seven-game series, they present a dangerous matchup for anybody since they play tough defense and are the second stingiest team in the playoffs.
If the Hawks can grab the No. 5 spot, that totally changes the look of the playoffs, but they are on a three-game skid which does little to convince these guys are ready to make changes to the standings.
Over in the West, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to sit on the limbo. They are in it one day, then out the next. After going 5-5 in their last 10 games, they have struggled to consistently remaining in the playoff picture. Though Kobe Bryant says he won't ask for rest, this team's makeup is not one of a playoff team.
Aside from the Lakers trying to get in, there are teams trying to move up. The San Antonio Spurs have the Western Conference by a one-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder, both teams have been played by inconsistencies going 6-4 in the season.
The Denver Nuggets are just a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies and the Grizzles are also just a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers. Here's how we habe these matchups wrapping up.
San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Utah Jazz (8)
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Golden State Warriors (7)
Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Houston Rockets (3)
Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (5)
The Rockets have been getting great play from Jeremy Lin in the previous games. If James Harden can become adapted to handling the ball less, then the Rockets might be on their way to surpassing the Warriors for the sixth seed. Again, the Jazz are playing great ball and hold a .5 game lead and the tiebreaker over the Lakers. Kobe will have to score 81 in every game if the Lakers want to make the playoffs.