The Mavericks and Grizzlies are switching sides in the standings, and so are the Nets and Wizards, yet still, this will be an exciting first round, with more upsets than ever. Here are the predictions for who moves on.
Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks
The Pacers have struggled against the Hawks mightily this season, and they will continue. The Hawks will win in 7 games.
(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats
The Heat have had no problem against Charlotte. The Miami Heat will continue their quest for a 3-peat with a sweep.
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets
With late Pacers struggles, the Heat and the Nets are the Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The Raptors have arrived in the playoffs for the first time since Chris Bosh led them in the 2007-2008 season. Raptors come up with the upset in 7 games.
(4) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Washington Wizards
Chicago has done lots of damage since the All-Star break to get to the playoffs, and have been the 4th seed for months. The Wiz Kids have been in the playoffs since mid-March, but it will end, as the Bulls win in 5 games.
Western Conference Playoff Picture
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Dallas Mavericks
Dallas did just enough to get the 8th seed, and they face the defending Western Conference Champions. The Spurs take care of business in 5 games.
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies won the series in 5 games against OKC a year ago, and the Thunder struggle mightily in the playoffs. The Griz win in 6 games.
(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) Golden State Warriors
The Clips and the Warriors are Pacific division rivals, and they will battle in the trenches for this one. The Clips, winning in 6 games, due to no Andrew Bogut for the Warriors.
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers
The Rockets and Blazers have had their ups and downs, so this will be a tough series to call, but everyone knows that Dwight Howard has what it takes to lead his team past the first round. Rockets in 5 games.