Eastern Conference First Round
#1 Indiana Pacers defeat #8 Atlanta Hawks 4-1
The Indiana Pacers will use the series as a tune up for the challenges ahead. Roy Hibbert will get back into beast mode after a lackluster season and Paul George will lead the way for a newly motivated and spirited Pacers bunch. Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner will also have great first round series for the Pacers. Indiana’s depth, size and playoff experience will be too much for the Hawks to handle.
#2 Miami Heat defeat #7 Charlotte Bobcats 4-2
Miami’s championship hopes rests on Dwayne Wade’s knees. Wade has missed 28 games this season and it was all a part of the plan as he rested almost every other game. The Heat will need Wade at at least 75-80% going into the playoffs and against tougher opponents. Miami has been ok in most of the games without Wade this season, but they will have some problems with the Bobcats in at least two games as they get into playoff form against a legit opponent.
Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson will lead the Bobcats to two victories in this first round match up but it won’t be enough to pull the upset over LeBron James and the Heat. James will dominate the Bobcats and Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Wade and the rest of the Heat core will do their parts to advance to the next round.
#6 Brooklyn Nets defeat #3 Toronto Raptors 4-2
There will be some great basketball played in this first round match up. The Raptors are a young bunch that want to make a statement but they will face off against a Nets squad with championship expectations and veterans. Kyle Lowry will show the world what he is made of in this series against the Nets, but Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and crew will take this series against Toronto.
#4 Chicago defeats #5 Washington 4-1
The Washington Wizards are another team ready to prove they belong. They will lose one heartbreaker to the Bulls in one of the first two games and then head back to Washington to pick up a victory, but it won’t be enough against the Tom Thibodeau led Bulls. John Wall will be another player to have a breakout series but it will end in a first round exit for him and the Wizards.
The Bulls have their eyes on the prize and will try to wrap this series up quickly against this young Washington squad. Look for DJ Augustin and Jimmy Butler to have standout performances against the Wizards.
Western Conference First Round
#1 San Antonio Spurs defeat #8 Dallas Mavericks 4-0
A sweep! No way!
Yes, the Dallas Mavericks will go down to the San Antonio Spurs in the only sweep of the first round. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the Spurs squad will be too much for Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks to handle. Look for Kawhi Leonard and Parker to have monster series against the Mavericks.
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder defeat #7 Memphis Grizzlies 4-2
I want to say that this series will go to 7 games, but I believe the Thunder will be focused and locked in. They don’t want to make this series with a tough Grizzlies squad anymore interesting than it needs to be. The Dynamic Duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will be in full effect against this deep Memphis team. Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen will do their best to slow them down but it won’t be good enough to take the Thunder down.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers defeat #6 Golden State Warriors 4-3
Without a doubt, this will be the most entertaining first round series this postseason. Everytime these two teams matched up it was an absolute show and this series will be no different. Both teams will average 115+ and the Clippers will come out victorious at Staples Center in Game 7 when the dust settles.
Chris Paul and Stephen Curry will have a battle for the ages. The two are tough as nails but it is impossible for them to guard each other. The loss of Andrew Bogut is too much for the Warriors to handle and his absence will be the main reason for their first round exit. Curry just might average 35 in this series but it won’t be enough to take down Lob City.
#4 Houston Rockets defeat #5 Portland Trail Blazers 4-3
This series will be another great one. The Trail Blazers will be a tall task for the Houston Rockets, but James Harden and Dwight Howard will lead the way in Game 7 to advance to the next round. Look for Terrence Jones to have a breakout series against Portland.