Stats taken from nba.com/statscube, which is awesome.
1. INDIANA (56-26) vs. 8. ATLANTA (38-44) season series tied 2-2
Game 1 @IND, Saturday at 7, ESPN
Game 2 @IND, Tuesday at 7, TNT
Game 3 @ATL, Thursday at 7, NBATV
Game 4 @ATL, 4/26 at 2, TNT
Game 5 @IND, 4/28 at 8, NBATV
Game 6 @ATL, 5/1
Game 7 @IND, 5/3
Despite their first place finish, the Pacers ended the season 12-13, the same record Atlanta had in their last 25 games. No Al Horford for the Hawks as usual, so Elton Brand and Pero Antic will have to pick up the slack. Other than Paul Millsap vs. David West, every position on the court is a drastic mismatch favoring Indiana. Hopefully the Pacers wake up before they get upset because if Atlanta wins, LeBron can beat the rest of the East with one hand tied behind his back.
2. MIAMI (54-28) vs. 7. CHARLOTTE (43-39) Miami won season series 4-0
Game 1 @MIA, Sunday at 3:30, ABC
Game 2 @MIA, Wednesday at 7, TNT
Game 3 @CHA, 4/26 at 7, ESPN
Game 4 @CHA, 4/28 at 7, TNT
Game 5 @MIA, 4/30
Game 6 @ CHA, 5/2
Game 7 @MIA, 5/4
This season Charlotte’s point guards struggled against Miami’s excellent defense. Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions were only able to drive the ball into the paint 13 times combined in four games. If they can’t spark the offense this may be a quick series. LeBron James had one of the best seasons in N.B.A. history. His stats: 27.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.4 APG, .567 FG%, .649 TS%, 61.0 eFG%, 31.0 USG%. No one has ever done all that shit. Have fun Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
3. TORONTO (48-34) vs. 6. BROOKLYN (44-38) season series tied 2-2
Game 1 @TOR, Saturday at 12:30, ESPN
Game 2 @TOR, Tuesday at 8, NBATV
Game 3 @BRO, 4/25 at 7, ESPN2
Game 4 @BRO, 4/27 at 7, TNT
Game 5 @TOR, 4/30
Game 6 @BRO, 5/2
Game 7 @TOR, 5/4
The Raptors won 9 of their last 12 to cap-off the best regular season in franchise history and will look to win a playoff series for the second time ever. Kyle Lowry was good for 38 points in 34 minutes during the season series and Brooklyn is going to have to find an answer for that. The Nets have lost 4 of 5 and it is unclear how much production they’ll get from a banged-up Kevin Garnett. Shaun Livingston and Mason Plumlee have had breakout years in Brooklyn, and Terrence Ross broke out some pretty sick dunks in Toronto; this should be a good series – the winner gets humbled by LeBron.
4. CHICAGO (48-34) vs. 5. WASHINGTON (44-38) Washington won season series 2-1
Game 1 @CHI, Sunday at 7, TNT
Game 2 @CHI, Tuesday at 9:30, TNT
Game 3 @WAS, 4/25 at 8, ESPN
Game 4 @WAS, 4/27 at 1, ABC
Game 5 @CHI, 4/29
Game 6 @WAS, 5/1
Game 7 @CHI, 5/3
Considering Derrick Rose is out for the second year in a row and Luol Deng was shipped to Cleveland for nothing, 14 games over .500 and home court in the first round is a pretty impressive season for the Bulls, who have one of the best defensive units in the league. Likewise the Wizards have won 8 of 11 to end an excellent season in which they were one of the leagues most improved teams. They’ll need John Wall to come up big if they’re going to advance, and he dominated the Bulls in their match-ups this season. Stopping him from getting into the paint and wreaking havoc is the key for the Chicago.
1. SAN ANTONIO (62-20) vs. 8. DALLAS (49-33) San Antonio won season series 4-0
Game 1 @SA, Sunday at 1, TNT
Game 2 @SA, Wednesday at 8, NBATV
Game 3 @DAL, 4/26 at 4:30, TNT
Game 4 @DAL, 4/28 at 9:30, TNT
Game 5 @SA, 4/30
Game 6 @DAL, 5/2
Game 7 @SA, 5/4
Danny Green shot 60% from three in the season series and Dallas just couldn’t handle Tony Parker. Parker was guarded mostly by Jose Calderon, and he pretty much destroyed him. Tim Duncan will be given a decent test against former teammate DeJuan Blair. Dallas is one of the best shooting teams in the league and they’ll have to shoot the lights out to end the Spurs eighteenth consecutive playoff run early.
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (59-23) vs. 7. MEMPHIS (50-32) Oklahoma City won season series 3-1
Game 1 @OKC, Saturday at 9:30, ESPN
Game 2 @OKC, Monday at 8, TNT
Game 3 @MEM, Thursday at 8, TNT
Game 4 @MEM, 4/26 at 9:30, ESPN
Game 5 @OKC, 4/29
Game 6 @MEM, 5/1
Game 7 @OKC, 5/3
If LeBron James didn’t exist, we would be discussing Kevin Durant in the same vein. He had the most efficient scoring season any player has ever had in the history of the N.B.A., except for LeBron’s performance this season. However, Durant only managed to shoot 40% this season versus Tayshaun Prince, which was way below the soon-to-be M.V.P.’s average. The defensive maven of the Grizz will probably play as well as a defender possibly can against Durant. If Russell Westbrook is healthy and plays the whole series, he’s probably the difference.
3. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (57-25) vs. 6. GOLDEN STATE (51-31) season series tied 2-2
Game 1 @LA, Saturday at 3:30, ABC
Game 2 @LA, Monday at 10:30, TNT
Game 3 @GS, Thursday at 10:30, TNT
Game 4 @GS, 4/27 at 3:30, ABC
Game 5 @LA, 4/29
Game 6 @GS, 5/1
Game 7 @LA, 5/3
This year the Warriors used 2-guard 27 points on 9/16, forced Klay to take 7 fouls of which Paul was 8/8 from the line. On the other end it will be Paul defending Stephen Curry most of the game. If Paul can keep Curry from having huge games the deep roster of the Clippers should eventually wear down Golden State.
4. HOUSTON (54-28) vs. 5. PORTLAND (54-28) Houston won season series 3-1
Game 1 @HOU, Sunday at 9:30, TNT
Game 2 @HOU, Wednesday at 9:30, TNT
Game 3 @POR, 4/25 at 10:30, ESPN
Game 4 @POR, 4/27 at 9:30, TNT
Game 5 @HOU, 4/30
Game 6 @POR, 5/2
Game 7 @HOU, 5/4
This season Josh Harden shot 58% versus Wes Matthews and 67% against Niclas Batum. For counterbalance Damian Lillard scored 33 points on 38 drives when matched up with Jeremy Lin, the Rockets best perimeter defender. Lin only managed 11 points on 22 drives. The front court match-ups are dead even. This one should be fun.
Article By: Anthony Schiano