The first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs is now in the books with not one or two, but three upsets as three lower seeded teams shocked the world by taking down their higher seeded competition. It also saw two teams get embarrassingly swept by their higher ranked opponents as well. What was the most notable about this playoff series was that six of the eight first round match ups ended by at least six games--one went as far as the final deciding game seven to determine the winner. The first round certainly was one to remember as it was literally a knuckle down dragged out fight as none of the teams showed signs of waning, regardless of seeding or their opponents lead in the series. Hopefully this second round will be just as exciting as the first as we take a look at all of the matchups and offering prediction on who will win and how long they will take right here on Slap Dog Hoops.
To the casual observer, this series seems so very one sided in Miami's favor as they will be facing a severely injury ravaged Chicago Bulls team that had just come off a seven game series; however, it does not mean that Miami should take this team lightly though. After all, this is the same depleted Bulls that that eliminated a deeper, more talented and healthy Brooklyn Nets squad; however, unlike the Nets, who have played lackadaisical all season, the Miami Heat are a talented team that actually plays to its full potential which may spell trouble for this gritty Bulls team. If Miami plays to its maximum potential, there is no doubt that they will easily best Chicago; however, if they enter this series as Brooklyn faced the Bulls in the first round, Miami could be in for an unnecessary long and dragged out series. Nonetheless, whether it is a four game sweep or a seven game grudge match expect Miami to take the seies as they look to head for their third straight NBA Finals appearance and possibly their second straight championship title.
It looked as if New York all but had their first round series all wrapped up with a bow tied on it as they took a 3 games to none lead against the lowly Boston Celtics; however, they allowed themselves to become lazy leading to Boston tyo stretch out the season a couple more games. One can certainly consider that a rather embarrassing performance for the team with second best regular season record in the Eastern Conference and certainly puts into question whether the Knicks have what it takes to be a true contender for a championship. They certainly cannot play that way against a gritty blue collar Indiana Pacers squad known for grinding out games to a near halt. Upon closer inspection, this series can go either way as both teams in terms of talent and depth basically match each other to a tee thus making it near impossible to pick a winner in the series. Although many do have the Knicks winning, my heart goes to the Pacers as I see them a true dark horse coming into this series
It was quite the deflating experience seeing the LA Clippers fall to the first round to the Grizzlies as many hoped to see two of the league's most exciting and highest scoring teams to run and gun each other out of the building. Now we are left with a series featuring two diametrically opposed forced as the uptempo Oklahoma City Thunder take on a slow game grinding Memphis Grizzlies team in a classic example of the irresistible force against the immovable object. The Thunder will be playing without their star point guard Russell Westbrook as it looks as he will be out of commission for the rest of the playoffs taking much of his speed and ability to push the games' tempo with him. That's not good news for Thunder fans as they will take on a Memphis team known for being physical and not apt to push any tempo. Many would have the Thunder winning this series, but the absence of Westbrook makes this series too close to call as Oklahoma City look like a far different team with out him setting the pace. One thing that is for certain, however and this is that it will not be a high scoring affair, but a physical, grinding and ugly series.
After their team simply had done away with the less than stellar Los Angeles Lakers sweeping them in four games, Spurs fans will look for their team to do the same to this upstart Golden State Warriors team; however, it certainly will not be that easy. Just ask the third seeded Denver Nuggets who found themselves down 3 games to one in the first round and then later eliminated by game six. Golden State certainly looks like a team that has a chance to be a true dark horse contender in this playoffs as the talent and depth of their rosters along with their style of play are almost identical to the Spurs. And certainly important to mention that the Warriors has thus far shown no fear against their previous opponent and certainly will not be intimidated by San Antonio's championship pedigree or reputation. I can certainly see a surprising upset in the making with the Warriors shock the world yet again to take down the Spurs in six.