Welcome to the second installment of my NBA Playoffs predictions. In Part 1, the Western Conference prediction, I picked the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets to be the last two teams standing in the west. Who would have thought Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors would perform like a team with playoff experience and send the Denver Nuggets on an early vacation back to the mile high city?
Talk about embarrassment, my failed prediction didn’t go without notice, meaning I received an ear-full of taunts from a few Golden State Warrior fans who follow me on Google plus. The Denver Nuggets fought in a tough series and sometimes it’s tough for a team to grab a win on the road, especially Denver. During the regular season the Nuggets had the best home winning record in the league, unfortunately, Coach George Karl couldn’t find a defensive answer for Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut.
What can I say. The Playoffs are unpredictable, one minute you can have a team on the ropes 3 games to 1 and the next minute you’re fighting your way out of a near beat-down barely escaping in a pivotal game 6 at home. At the end of the day, the tougher team ALWAYS wins. Check out my 2013 Eastern Conference Finals Predictions below and thank you for reading.
Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls: Winner – Miami Heat (4 – 2)
Hopefully this pick doesn’t come back and bite me in the ass like my Denver pick, nonetheless, I feel pretty comfortable picking the Heat to win the series versus the Bulls (4 – 2). This will be a highly competitive series, the Bulls are one of the toughest teams in the league and we all know they have nothing short of hate toward the Miami Heat team. The Bulls have the defensive capabilities to limit Miami from scoring inside and don’t be surprised if they steal a win on the road.
Believe it or not, Dwayne Wade will be the key to the Heat closing out this series. Wade shouldn’t have a problem scoring against the Bulls smaller guard lineup as long as he doesn’t have to chase Nate Robinson around pick-and-rolls. Lebron James will play MVP caliber basketball as usual and I expect the ball to be in his hands late in the fourth and during close game deciding situations. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer will continue to be a nightmare creating problems in the offensive and defensive rebounding aspects of the game.
The only concern I have for the Heat is their inability to rebound. The Miami Heat are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and they don’t have a great winning record on the road. This series will be one of the more competitive and physical match-ups of the playoff series but I expect Miami to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Pacers vs Knicks: Winner – Pacers (4 – 3)
The Indiana Pacers have a few more offensive weapons than the New York Knicks. The Knicks live behind the three-point arc and occasionally get caught up in isolation offense with Carmelo Anthony which will eventually lead to their demise and exit from the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
Roy Hibbert and Paul George are the keys to advancement of the Indiana Pacers to the next round. The Pacers have the edge if Hibbert can continue to block shots, pull down offensive rebounds, and score in the low-post. Paul George creates another problem for the Knicks because he’s a 6-10 small forward who can handle the ball and shoot from any spot on the court and Iman Shumpert cannot guard him 1-on-1, no matter how good of a defender he is.
The Knicks were my original favorite to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, unfortunately, the Pacers have proven that they have a more complete team with multiple scoring options. I expect the Pacers to dominate this series. Carmelo Anthony will have to average at least 30 points for the Knicks make this a series but I pick the Pacers to win the series 4-3.