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NBA playoff predictions

April 18, 2013 - Andy Heintz
As a sports journalist, I try to stay up on all sports worldwide. I am much better at some than others but I can honestly say that I have always followed the NBA. Back when it seemed like just me a few close friends would talk about, I was always interested what was going on.

I rooted for Michael Jordan and the Bulls as a kid. Then I became a Minnesota Timberwolves fan after attending a game in high school. I fell in love with Kevin Garnett's game. Even though the Wolves haven't been much to cheer about since KG left the Twin Cities, I have stuck by my team and really think if injuries didn't take out half the roster this year that they would have been in the playoffs.

It would have been a fun year to be in the postseason. But it is what it is.

Here are my predictions on the teams that are in the playoffs. These predictions just cover the first round. I will address later rounds as we go.

Eastern Conference

Miami vs. Milwaukee

This series won't be close. Milwaukee is just happy to be in the postseason after some bleak years. The Lebron James train may not be stopped. It certainly won't be stopped in this round.

Prediction: Heat in 4

New York vs. Boston

This series is the most intriguing in my opinion because the Celtics have been there and done that and are always dangerous. I have never been a Carmelo Anthony hater but I also never believed he had what it takes to lead a team to the championship. I don't think he makes his teammates better but this year was different. He has played at a high level and deserves first team all-NBA consideration.

Prediction: Knicks in 7

Brooklyn vs. Chicago

The Nets went on a run after Avery Johnson was fired. The Bulls have proven they can beat anyone at home after ending long win streaks by both Miami and New York this season. If Derrick Rose was playing, this would be a no-brainer.

But Rose likely won't play and Joakim Noah has been in and out of the lineup.

Prediction: I am going against the grain here and taking the Nets in 7 mainly because of the homecourt advantage.

Indiana vs. Atlanta

This one could be interesting because the Hawks have shown signs in the past two be competitive. Just not competitive enough when it comes time for the playoffs.

I really like how Indiana plays and the best players on the court play for the Pacers. Plus, Indiana is the only team that I feel can give Miami a run for its money in the Eastern Conference finals.

Prediction: Pacers in 6

Western Conference

Oklahoma City vs. Houston

My prediction is OKC against Miami for the second straight year and nothing with this first-round matchup changes my mind. The Thunder have one of the most complete rosters in the league and two of the 10 best scorers in the postseason. Houston's James Harden and Jeremy Lin are capable of taking over games and Kevin McHale will get coach of the year votes, but the Rockets won't have enough to stop the Thunder.

Prediction: Thunder roll in 5

San Antonio vs. L.A. Lakers

I am not as sold on the Lakers current run as most are. Mainly because I find it hard that this team will win a playoff series with Kobe Bryant and possibly Steve Nash on the bench watching. It appears that Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have learned how to play together -- and Mike D'Antoni has actually played them together. The Spurs are always a team that could win it all or a team that can lose in round one, like the past few years show. I expect a close series but the Spurs should advance.

Prediction: Spurs in 6

Memphis vs. L.A. Clippers

This may be the best first-round matchup in the entire postseason. Both of these teams are talented enough to make deep runs. Memphis has proven itself to be worthy come playoff time but that was when they had Rudy Gay. The Clippers are exciting and fun to watch but that kind of play takes a backseat in the postseason when refs swallow their whistles more and the physicality picks up. In the end, I like the Clippers because of the best point guard in the league Chris Paul.

Prediction: Clippers in 7

Denver vs. Golden State

Another interesting series here with the two big injuries to Denver. Not sure they can recover from those if both injuries are long-term but they can beat Golden State without Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari both out. Gallinari is likely out for the postseason while Faried's injury doesn't appear to be serious. I like the Nuggets roster and George Karl has done a fantastic job in Denver, but the Warriors are no slouch with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee. This one likely comes down to guard play.

Prediction: Denver in 6


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