1. Bulls vs Sixers: This should be one of the quickest series to end in the first round. Philadelphia started the season strong, but they started to fall apart after the All-Star break. Dough Collins will have his team ready and prepared for the Bulls, but that still won't do them any good. The Bulls don't even need the semi-healthy Rose for this series, the bench mob could take care of them on their own.
Prediction: Bulls in 5
2. Heat vs Knicks: This Knicks started off the season on the wrong foot, so wrong that they didn't even look like they were a playoff caliber team. However, after Mike Woodson took over, they seem to be as strong as ever. This should be a close series if Amare can adjust to the offense. Every game should be close, their shouldn't be any major blowouts this series.
Prediction: Heat in 6
3. Pacers vs Magic: Similar to the Bulls-Sixers series, I don't see this series going on for very long. Indiana's future this playoffs is a bit foggy, but they are still a legitimate championship-caliber team. With Dwight Howard absent due to his back surgery, Roy Hibbert should have a big series. Indiana plays phyiscal and will look to finish the series as quick as possible
Prediction: Pacers in 5
4. Celtics vs Hawks: This series shows promise for a long and exciting series. The Hawks have youth and athleticism on their side, while Celtics have experience and veteran leadership on their side. The Hawks have proved they can still win games without their All-Star Center, Al Horford. Boston came off the slowest start since the big-three era, but show no sign of aging now. Should be a good one.
Prediction: Celtics in 7
1. Spurs vs Jazz: The Spurs hope not to have a first round exit like last season. The Spurs have a few new players and Tony Parker is playing MVP type basketball, the Jazz should be no problem for the Spurs. Look for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to have big series since Duncan will use all his energy attempting to guard Jefferson.
Prediction: Spurs in 5
2. Thunder vs Mavericks: Last year's Western-Conference Finals match-up looks to be the best series of the first round. There are only three major things that have changed from last season, Chandler and Barea left and Carter joined the Mavs. Chandler was a big part of the championship run last season, but would his absence be missed in this series? The Thunder are a jump-shooting team, so Chandlers inside defense won't be really missed as much. This series could go either way.
Prediction: Thunder in 6
3. Lakers vs Nuggets: The Lakers will play without Metta World Peace for the first six games, is that a series changer? Not really. The Nuggets don't really have that elite go-to perimeter guy that World Peace would ordinary guard, so Lakers fans can take a breather. However, with the absence of World Peace, look for Gallinari to have a big series. Denver is lethal on the open court, but if Lakers can slow the game down and make Nuggets play half-court offense, its over.
Prediction: Lakers in 6
4. Grizzlies vs Clippers: A lot of people jumped on the "Lob City" bandwagon when they traded for Chris Paul, but who knew they would be actually good? Aside from the highlights, the Clippers have shown that they can play and compete in the West. Unfortunately for them, they have to play against Memphis. The Grizzlies have big size and are a tough grind-it-out team, any team that wishes to get past the Grizzlies will have fight for it.
Predictions: Grizzlies in 6
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Tags: 2012, 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, denver nuggets, first round, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, los angeles clippers, los angeles lakers, memphis grizzlies, Miami Heat, mvp, NBA, New York Knicks, Oklahoma city thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia sixers, playoffs, predictions, san antonio spurs, Utah Jazz