The 2013 NBA Playoffs are here and so are questions of NBA Finals matchups. Here are the predictions for this year's playoffs as the games are about to begin.
First Round Predictions
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks- Heat in 5
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics- Knicks in 6
Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks- Pacers in 5
Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls- Bulls in 7
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OKC Thunder vs. Houston Rockets- Thunder in 5
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers- Spurs in 6
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors- Nuggets in 6
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies- Clippers in 6
The way the brackets have it set up and my predictions have it, the Heat face the Bulls in the Semis. Though the Bulls finished off the season in weak fashion, they revolve their game around defense, which is the answer to the Nets' offense and the reason why the Bulls can advance into the semis. Again, however, the only team that could contain the Heat in the East are the Knicks and the way I see it, the Heat won't have to face them until the Conference Championships.
The Knicks have the scoring champion as Carmelo Anthony went on a tear to close out the 2013 season. This is what many analysts and writers expected from Anthony as he's in search of his first NBA championship, the last of the Top 5 2003 Draft class without the Larry O'Brien trophy in his resume. This could be motivation enough to get past the Pacers in the semis and advance to face the Heat in the Eastern Championship series.
Heat vs. Bulls- Heat in 6
Knicks vs. Pacers- Knicks in 6
Over in the West, the Thunder would get the Clippers and though you have to love the home run threats of alley-oops and how they can demoralize the opponent on the fast break, the Thunder come into the matchup as the heavy favorite. Thunder take this series easily and once again await for the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals or will they be playing the Nuggets?
I'm going out on a limb saying the Nuggets advance to the conference finals. The Spurs finished their season in ugly fashion, meanwhile, the Nuggets closed out the season as the hottest team in the league. Playing the Warriors in the first round is only going to reinforce this point. I say they surprise the Spurs and push the series to the end.
Thunder vs. Clippers- Thunder in 6
Nuggets vs. Spurs- Nuggests in 7
The Heat meet the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals where they will eventually win it in six. LeBron James will play his best basketball as he knows he'll have to face Anthony. Plus the Heat have the better bench with sharp shooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis who can comeback the Knicks three-point shooting abilities.
Heat vs. Knicks- Heat in 6
Over in the West. The Thunder take out the Nuggets in 5 games as they are able to keep up with their fast pace of basketball since they possess a pretty young team. Once again, the world is prompted for a Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James NBA Finals.
Thunder vs. Nuggets- Thunder in 5
The Heat once again are the favorite. Might as well consider James and Durant the Magic and Bird of our time. This matchup goes beyond friendship as both teams try to bring the Larry O'Brien trophy to their home towns. However, the Heat are stacked with the better bench once again. The Thunder have no James Harden who can score 20 points off the bench in a heartbeat.
The Heat have a tight defense led by Shane Battier and when the best offensive player in your team also has great defensive skills, then this makes it tough for the opposition. The Heat have length with Chris Andersen, which is something they missed a bit last season as Chris Bosh was assiged the center position along with another small center, Joel Anthony.
Though the Thunder gained more experience by dealing Harden out, they get older and miss out on the talens the beard and Harden brought off the bench.
Heat win NBA Finals in 6