If sports were a science they wouldn’t be half as fun, and there would be no point in holding the NBA Playoffs to begin with. The commissioner would pick a clear-cut winner at the end of the season based on stats and predictions, and our nerves would be better off because of it. Instead, the Lakers, crowned a dynasty in the preseason, have been swept by a geriatric Spurs team. OKC will have to manage without Westbrook. And the Golden State Warriors has Denver gasping for air―something Denver was supposed to to be doing to the Bay Area team.
As the first round in the 2013 NBA Playoffs begins to wrap up, we look back at what we expected to be happening at this designated time. Even though the sport is not a science, our playoff predictions have fared very well.
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Series Prediction: New York Knicks 4 – Boston Celtics 2
Results: New York Knicks 3 – Boston Celtics 1 (So Far)
The Celtics’ age has finally caught up to them. This time it’s for real, as Kevin Garnett is expected to retire after a first round knockout. And it’s impossible to see the C’s pulling out a miracle. Boston was able to pull off a victory, but that was with J.R. Smith serving a one-game suspension. Because of their hardy defense, I expected them at least nabbing two in the series, but, realistically, it will end up a five-game walk in Central Park for New York.
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Series Prediction: Denver Nuggets 4 – Golden State Warriors 2
Results: Golden State Warriors 3 – Denver Nuggets 1 (So Far)
Denver’s fate can be decided tonight, especially if they continue to play defense like the Washington Generals. A lot of it comes down to containing Stephen Curry, who, inexplicably, has been guarded by an Andre Miller who looks like he could be outrun by most mascots. But even if you keep Corey Brewer or Iguodala on Curry for longer stretches, how exactly do you stop a guy who can do this? Especially when you’re not known for being a defensive team. This one isn’t turning out as expected.
Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets
Series Prediction: Chicago Bulls 4 – Brooklyn Nets 3
Results: Chicago Bulls 3 – Brooklyn Nets 2 (So Far)
With Kirk Hinrich currently out of the lineup with an injury, this series has a chance to go to Game 7 as we predicted. For Chicago’s mental sanity, the Bulls will hope to close it out at home on Game 6, however. If they’re able to maintain some semblance of defense, they can do that as they’ve been able to win the low-scoring matches in the series. Without Hinrich, though, it’s within the realm of possibility that the Nets can pull off the next two with ease.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Series Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 4 – Memphis Grizzlies 2
Results: Los Angeles Clippers 2 – Memphis Grizzlies 2 (So Far)
In this series, we expected some offensive deficiencies but not that they’d be coming from the Los Angeles Clippers. The boxscore has been a seesaw, as the Clippers won the first game by 21 points and Memphis dominated the last by 21 points. But even when it lost, Memphis put up better total point numbers (91 and 91) than Lob City did when they posted L’s (82 and 83). That’s not good news for Chris Paul and co. I still believe the Clippers win this series, but they’ll have to get their heads on right against a troublesome Grizzlies squad.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Series Prediction: San Antonio Spurs 4 – Los Angeles Lakers 2
Results: San Antonio Spurs 4 – Los Angeles Lakers 0
Given San Antonio’s late season play, I didn’t expect this series to have the word “sweep” written all over it. But by the end of the series, there wasn’t enough dust left over from the L.A. team to even require a broom. The Spurs looked in full control throughout the series, and only got better as the first round progressed. This beating should add to Dwight’s growing list of reasons why he won’t be back in Lakerland.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Series Prediction: Miami Heat 4 – Milwaukee Bucks 0
Results: Miami Heat 4 – Milwaukee Bucks 0
Trying to predict the outcome of this one wasn’t making anyone lose sleep. Expected to plow through the whole league, as they did during the regular season, Miami treated the Bucks as little more than roadkill. To have any chance of winning a game or two, the Bucks needed to give Larry Sanders heavy minutes, which was hard to do given that he averaged 4.5 fouls per game. On top of having an undersized and poor-shooting backcourt, the Bucks also lack the personnel to contend with Miami’s wing players. Although Marquis Daniels and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are hardy, defensive wings, they couldn’t hit LeBron’s forehead with a beach ball. Putting the rock in the cylinder on a consistent basis is just way out of their skillset to hang with championship teams.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
Series Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 4 – Houston Rockets 1
Results: Oklahoma City Thunder 3 – Houston Rockets 1 (So Far)
Like predicted, this series ends at five games. Even without Russell Westbrook, OKC has too talented of a team to give up more than one game to The Bearded One, even if their gameplan shows little sign of competency. The Thunder are notorious for relying on the inherent abilities of their cast instead of putting together a storied system that complements those abilities. Because Houston is still too raw and inexperienced to expose that flaw, they won’t win another game. But watch out OKC, round 2 is knocking at your door.
Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Series Prediction: Indiana Pacers 4 – Atlanta Hawks 1
Results: Indiana Pacers 2 – Atlanta Hawks 2 (So Far)
Other than the Golden States-Denver Nuggets series, this one has been the most surprising. With Paul George leading the charge and a gritty defense to keep Atlanta in check, I saw Atlanta doing little more than pulling off one close game. Instead, they’ve dominated the past two, and have made Indy look like the lower tier team. After averaging 110 points in the first two routs, Indiana has put up a disheartening 80 points as an average for the last two contests. That’s a twenty point turnaround. If Atlanta can keep up its play on the road, this series might end up an upset.