1 p.m EST on TNT
Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers
5:30 p.m. EST on ABC
Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m. EST on TNT
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
9:30 p.m. EST on TNT
Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder
At 1p.m. EsT we have the sixth-seeded Atlanta Hawks featuring Josh Smith and Jeff Teague visiting the third-seeded Indiana Pacers with Paul George and David West. Indiana is trying to build on its great season despite missing star Danny Granger. The Pacers are 30-11 at home while the Hawks are 19-22 on the road.
11/7/12 Indiana @ Atlanta 86-89
12/29/12 Indiana @ Atlanta 100-109
2/5/13 Atlanta @ Indiana 103-114
3/25/13 Atlanta @ Indiana 94-100
As you can see the matchups these two teams have had in the regular season, home court advantage is HUGE and can determine the momentum of the series. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but the NBA playoffs are all about defense and limiting turnovers is a huge key to winning games. The Pacers and Hawks are similar in that category, with the Pacers committing 1227 turnovers while the Hawks committed 1219 for the whole season. While the Hawks are not known for their three-point prowess they rank 7th in the league in three-point percentage at 37.1 percent while the Pacers converted 34.7 of their three-point attempts. Whichever team can take care of the ball and limiting 3’s from the opposing team will win the game. But I do see this game going over the total 185.5
Key(s) to winning:Limiting turnovers and three-point percentage
1 Unit (Total over 185.5)
At 3:30PM EST comes one of the most exciting matchups we have in the West. The seventh-seeded Mamba-less Los Angeles Lakers visit the playoff experienced second-seeded San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are 35-6 at home while the Lakers are an ugly 16-25 away from Staples Center.
11/13/12 San Antonio @ Los Angeles 84-82
1/9/13 Los Angeles @ San Antonio 105-108
4/14/13 San Antonio @ Los Angeles 86-91
With and without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have managed to keep all three regular season meetings close. Both teams know each other very well and without a doubt the key players for this game will be Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard versus Tony Parker and Tim Duncan., Ever since the All-Star break and the passing of Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss, the Lakers have found a sense of urgency and have clawed themselves back into the playoff picture. The Spurs however have been well… the Spurs, despite several injuries throughout the season, with the managed playing times of his star players, Gregg Popovich has a full squad ready for another championship run. It will be a close game and even though the final score will not show, free-throw percentage will determine the outcome of the game as the Spurs shoot .791 while the Lakers shoot a disastrous .692 from the charity stripe.
Key(s) to winning- Free-throw percentage along with the Gasol/Howard versus Parker/Duncan matchup
1 Unit (Lakers +9)
Interesting matchup coming in at 7 p.m. EST, the top-seeded defending champions Miami Heat host the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat are 37-4 at home and the Bucks are 17-24 away from home.
11/21/12 Milwaukee @ Miami 106-113 OT
12/29/12 Miami @ Milwaukee 85-104
3/15/13 Miami @ Milwaukee 107-94
4/9/13 Milwaukee @ Miami 83-94
First questions that comes into mind, how many eightseeds have upset the No. 1 seed to move on to the second round? The answer is five.
- The Denver Nuggets defeated the Seattle Supersonics 3-2 in 1994.
- The New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat in 1999, 3-2.
- The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks in 2007, 4-2.
- The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs in 2011, 4-2.
- The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls in 2012, 4-2
Both teams will be healthy to start their playoff run, and as I’ve highlighted in red above, we have had upsets in the past twp years in a row where an eight seed knocked off a oneseed. Will Miami share the same fate or will it be the Thunder that will be a part of history? Opening games are always hard to predict even more so for this matchup, but 13 is just too much in a playoff game to be favorite by even when you’re the Heat.
Key(s) to winning- Big 3 of Miami Heat versus the entire Milwaukee Bucks
1 Unit (Milwaukee +13)
No hard feelings? At 9:30PM EST we have another great matchup between the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets visiting the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are 34-7 at home while the Rockets are 16-25 away from Toyota Center.
11/28/12 Houston @ OKC 98-120
12/29/12 OKC @ Houston 124-94
2/20/13 OKC @ Houston 119-122
If you’re looking for an up-tempo/transition type of game and you absolute HATE defense, look no further, we bring you Houston at Oklahoma City. Why no defense? The Houston Rockets are an atrocious 28th in the league at holding their opponents to 102.5 points per game while the Thunder sit 9th at 96.5 points per game allowed. Knowing that the Rockets can’t play defense, offense will be key to winning this game as the Rockets rank second in the league with 106 points per game and the Thunder just slightly behind at third with 105.7 points per game. Will The Thunder feel the effects of missing James Harden in the playoffs and be the sixth team to lose to an eighth seed? Or will Harden finally get his revenge on his former team?
Key(s) to winning- First team to 100 wins.
1 Unit (Total over 213)
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