Predictions by NBA Consultant: Harrison Churchman
1Miami VS. 8Milwaukee MIA in 4 Games
This is a team on a mission, they did it last year and have the right approach. The only problems they may face would be later in the playoffs, they roll here though.
The Skinny: They are just better
2New York VS. 7Boston BOS in 7 Games
This series will be a long competitive battle where defensive stops will be at a premium and adjustment-style coaching will prevail. The experience that Boston possesses is second to none in the Eastern conference, and you can’t count them out.
The Skinny:Defense, playoff experience and coaching
3Indiana VS. 6Atlanta IND in 6 Games
It is tough to believe that the Hawks lost on purpose for the more favorable second round opponent (Not Miami) and are now facing arguably the most physical team in the East. With Roy Hibbert, David West, Paul George, and Psycho T (Tyler Hansborough), they can enjoy rebounds and defense as they methodically beat you. Al Horford will lengthen this series, but the size will be too much.
4Brooklyn VS. 5Chicago CHI in 7 Games
This may be one of the best match-ups in the first round, and it will be a hard fought one for both teams. The Bulls boast a defense like no other, Carlos Boozer plays down low and Luol Deng on the wing. This will have two balanced teams doing battle.
The Skinny:Thibideau’s coaching, defense, playoff experience
1Oklahoma City VS. 8Houston OKC in 5 Games
This will be James Harden‘s return to OKC and he will have something to prove, however he will be playing against Kevin Durant and his partner in crime Russell Westbrook. Houston can grab a game, but Thunder take the series.
The Skinny:Too strong and fast, despite Houston being on right track
2San Antonio VS. 7LA Lakers SA in 5 Games
This will be a daunting task for the Lakers without Kobe and the Spurs seem to be at full strength. Howard can still power them, but only to 1 game, and the Spurs take the rest.
TheSkinny:Lakers injuries, SA coaching and experience
3Denver VS. 6Golden State DEN in 6 Games
This series may turn into a battle of the guards, and the Nuggets have more depth at that position. They have better chemistry and will have to shut down Stephen Curry, or at least limit him.
The Skinny:Team Chemistry, shutting down Curry
4LA Clippers VS. 5Memphis LAC in 7 Games
This could be the Clippers year to out do their in-city counterpart, the Lakers, by advancing further in the playoffs than them. They have good pieces and are very deep. This will be a great series and it will last all 7 games, but the stars on the Clippers will be too much.
The Skinny:Home court advantage, star power, Crawford may be the difference