Alright guys the games are pretty much wrapped up. Let's throw in prediction runs.
Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks
(Pacers in 6)
The Hawks are missing Al Horford whose arguably their best player. Antic is good but Horford would have done more damage against Hibbert. Atlanta has the better point guard and Milsap at this point is probably better than West. But with Korver as the shooter, and Carroll pitted against Paul George, it could make things tough for Atlanta. Indiana has a big enough bench to survive problems in the first series and a guy like CJ Watson can help reduce turnovers.
Miami Heat vs Charlotte Bobcats
(Heat in 5)
This one is a no brainer. Even without Wade, the Heat give the Bobcats a lot of fits. Gilchrist has a difficult time with James, which small forward doesn't? James will get his points. Kemba Walker is a score minded guard who will need to be aggressive and also find Big Al. The problem is Gilchrist and Henderson are not good outside shooters, this is why Miami crushes this team. Gary Neal will have to step it up for Charlotte and that's not enough. Charlotte could try to go in the paint and get some post points by Big Al. But the speed and Miami defense will frustrate the hell out of the Bobcats.
Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets
(Nets in 6)
The Raptors have a back court that will do some damage against the Nets. The Nets are a terrible away team so logically we should have some kind of a series. As bad as Williams and Johnson are, the Nets have some guys who have stepped up this season and are willing to take more responsibility for their efforts. Teletovic, Thornton, and Plumlee have been excellent pieces add to that with the playoff experience of Livingston, Pierce, Garnett, and Kirilenko, and you have a team that's much more mentally disciplined to come through.
Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards
(Bulls in 5)
John Wall will feature in his first playoff series. He has a great size and athleticism advantage at the point guard position. But the Bulls are much better as a team. We play suffocating defense and get the stops. Noah is going to be a huge problem for the Wizards. Add to that the Wizards are streaky perimeter shooters so once we close down the paint and force this team to shoot it up, that's where they'll struggle to find themselves in the game.
San Antonio Spurs vs Dallas Mavericks
(Spurs in 5)
Spurs have been 9-0 against the Mavericks in recent years. They are a bad match-up. With that said some of the games will be very close. Nowitzki is a playoff star and with the experience of Marion and the athletic scoring punch of Ellis, they will play a very physical heated first round series. But with that said the Spurs are just too high on firepower and excellent defenders.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies
(Thunder in 7)
Another good playoff first series match-up. The Grizzlies don't make too many silly turnovers and are a team that plays very physical. They've added a shooter in Mike Miller. The Thunder are shooting machines while the Grizzlies prefer to pound it in the paint. One team will attempt to slow things down while the other will speed things up. These match-ups are usually entertaining but with that said with Westbrook back in the lineup, the Thunder should be favorites.
LA Clippers vs Golden State Warriors
(Clippers in 5)
Mark Jackson's Warriors have not gotten better even after upgrading the bench. The Clippers on the other hand are a completely different team after the Del Negro to Doc Rivers switch. This match-up feels different in the past where the Clippers really struggled with the Warriors. Griffin will show you why he's arguably the best power forward in this series and really attack their lane considering their rim protection has dropped big time. His jump shot is much improved and the Clippers have enough perimeter talent to match-up with Curry and Thompson.
Houston Rockets vs Portland Trailblazers
(Rockets in 5)
The Portland Trailblazers have a young solid point guard in Damian Lillard. It is interesting to see how he does in his first playoffs. The Trailblazers have a good starting 5 to work with but with that said there are several obvious problems. The Trailblazer bench doesn't show up well on either end of the floor for this team. The starting 5 has too many guys who have had a lot of games this season where they end up becoming invisible and fading. Batum has been very quiet, Matthews should be stepping it up but has disappeared in a ton of games, and this leaves a lot of pressure on the backs of Lillard and Aldridge to do everything. The Rocket on the other hand have starters who distribute the offense evenly and in Howard's absences guys like Jones and Parsons have been kicking ass.
Based on this run, it seems the Heat could potentially go Bobcats, Nets, then Pacers or even Bulls.
When it comes to the Spurs, they'll probably have to go through Mavericks, Rockets, and Thunder as worst case scenario.
Based on the pre-playoff predictions, the Heat have a much easier run in comparison. This is why if teams are injury free, the Heat have it much easier than the Spurs. So should the two meet or even the Thunder meet the Heat, the Heat would still be favorites to win the title.
But anyways let's take this one series at a time considering anything can happen in the playoffs, if a key guy like LeBron picks up an injury all of a sudden you have multiple favorites for the title.