As the fast paced NBA season continues to roll on after the All-Star break, the next two big events are the March 15th trade deadline, and the playoffs that will start at the end of the shortened season.
While 14 teams look forward to the NBA draft lottery, 16 teams will battle it out in the playoffs.
Although there is a lot of basketball yet to be played and the standings will change before the actual playoffs begin, here are the predictions for each series and each round if the games were to begin today.
*Note: Standings are accurate for games played through March 6.
It is not common for the top-seeded team in the playoffs to lose in the first round, and it is not going to happen this year.
Even with Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin, the Knicks will not have enough to get past the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs.
Derrick Rose and the Bulls currently own the best record in the NBA and are on a seven-game winning streak.
With the struggles the Knicks have had throughout the season, they will not be able to survive a series against such a talented roster.
The Knicks have yet to solidify team chemistry and still need to learn to play together.
The two teams have met only once this season with the Bulls winning on the road in New York.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls win 4-1
The Miami Heat have been one of the favorites all season to win the NBA Championship.
The Boston Celtics have lost a step this season and are not the dominant team that they once were.
The younger, more athletic big three of the Heat should have no problem taking care of the aging big three of the Celtics.
With key players in the final year of their contracts, losing in the first round will be the beginning of big changes in Boston.
Rajon Rondo will carry the team and have one monster game, but it won't be enough to beat the Heat.
Miami beat the Celtics in their only meeting so far this season.
Prediction: Miami Heat win 4-1
This series will result in a first-round upset as the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks beat the Orlando Magic in a road playoff series.
Even without starting center Al Horford, who is out for the season, the Hawks will find a way to win.
Dwight Howard and the Magic will be distracted by upcoming free agency decisions and the team will not play at a high enough level to win the series.
The Hawks will steal game 7 on the road in Orlando and get a chance to play the Miami Heat in the second round.
The Hawks have beaten the Magic both times the teams have met this season.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks win 4-3
The Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers have been two of the most surprising teams in the league this season.
It is only fitting that they meet each other in the first round to determine who is better.
As expected in a matchup of the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams, this series will be a close battle.
Despite not having as much playoff experience, it will be the Pacers who are victorious in the end.
Indiana lost its only game against the 76ers this season, but have what it takes to take them down in a seven-game war.
Prediction: Indiana Pacers win 4-3
The Houston Rockets have played well this season and are taking a big step in the right direction.
Kyle Lowry has improved his game and done well to lead the Rockets to the eighth playoff spot.
Unfortunately, they will run into the a deadly Oklahoma City Thunder team in the first round.
The athletic Thunder will have no problem beating the Rockets in a series to easily move on to the second round.
The two teams have played three times with the Thunder winning twice.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder wins 4-1
The San Antonio Spurs were on the receiving end of an embarrassing loss in the first round of the playoffs last season.
This year will be different as the Spurs are not about to allow history to repeat itself.
As he has done all season, Tony Parker will produce and lead the team out of the first round.
Even though the Nuggets are getting key players Danilo Gallinari and Nene back from injury, they will not have enough to get past the Spurs.
The teams have played three times with the Spurs winning two of those games.
Prediction: San Antonio wins 4-2
Outside of Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers do not have many players with significant playoff experience.
The Dallas Mavericks plan to quietly defend their NBA Championship that they won last season.
In the end it will be the experience of the Mavericks that will prevail over the athleticism of the Clippers.
If Dirk Nowitzki shows up in this series as he did last season in the playoffs, the Mavericks will end up with the upset win in this series.
The two games the Mavericks and the Clippers have played this season resulted in one close win for each team.
Prediction: Dallas Mavericks win 4-3
The Grizzlies will hope to have a repeat of their playoff performance from last season, but will have to deal with the Lakers' formidable tandem of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the middle.
In the end, L.A.'s big men and Kobe Bryant will be too much for the Grizzlies to handle, and it will be the Lakers who win the battle of the Gasol brothers.
The Lakers won the only game played between these two teams so far this season.
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers win 4-2
It probably doesn't make much difference to the Chicago Bulls who they play in the second round, but the team will take a second-round matchup against the Pacers.
The Bulls will not have a difficult time with the Pacers, who are talented enough to win a first round series, but not yet experienced enough to move past the Bulls to the Conference Finals.
This should be another relatively painless playoff series for Derrick Rose and the Bulls, who should make short work of the Pacers.
All will not be lost for the Pacers, as they will get some much needed playoff experience to build on for the future.
The Bulls and Pacers have split the two games they have played this year.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls win 4-1.
Not that they need it, but the Miami Heat will catch a nice break when the Hawks upset the Magic in the opening round.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, this will not be the year that they make it past the second round.
The Miami Heat are simply too strong and athletic for the Hawks to keep up.
This should be a relatively easy series for the Heat who can turn their attention to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat and Hawks have played three games this season with the Heat taking two of those from Atlanta.
Prediction: Miami Heat win 4-1
The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers will make one of the best pairings of the playoffs.
Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant will put on a scoring show and it will come down to how well the rest of the players perform.
At the end of it all, the Thunder will use their youthful energy and athleticism to send the Lakers home one step short of the Conference Finals.
The Thunder will exploit the weaknesses the Lakers have battled all season.
The Thunder have beaten the Lakers in their only meeting this season.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder win 4-3
The battle of Texas is on as the Dallas Mavericks meet the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Mavericks are not as strong this season as they were last year and this will be the end of the road for Dallas.
The Spurs will draw on their playoff experience and not allow a let down as they move passed the Mavericks to the conference finals.
The difference in this series will be the three-point shooting of the Spurs. When they get the ball going from long range, they are very hard to beat.
The two teams have split the two games they have played this season.
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs win 4-3
It will take a lot of basketball to get there, but the most anticipated matchup of the season will take place in the Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.
This series has the potential to be one of the best playoff series in a long time and could overshadow the actual NBA Finals.
When it is all said and done, the big three of the Miami Heat will outlast the Bulls and win game 7 in overtime on the road in Chicago.
The Heat have won the only contest between these two teams this season.
Prediction: Miami Heat win 4-3
The San Antonio Spurs will make up for last season by having a solid playoff run, but it will come to an end in the Western Conference Finals.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will continue to play with the same high energy they have relied on all season and will handle the Spurs.
Kevin Durant will have a big series and show why he is one of the top scorers in the NBA.
Russell Westbrook will justify his big salary and James Harden will be huge, as usual.
The Thunder will beat the Spurs in what could be the last season for one of the greatest players ever to play in the NBA, Tim Duncan.
The Spurs and the Thunder have split the two games they have played this year.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder wins 4-2
A Heat/Thunder finals is sure to be one of the best we have seen in a long time.
These superstar-filled teams will put on a great show in a high scoring series that will take the full seven games to decide.
At the end of the series it will be the talent and experience of the Heat that will lead them passed the young Thunder squad.
LeBron James will have a better series in the Finals than he did last year, but it will be Dwyane Wade who carries the team and wins the Finals' Most Valuable Player.
The Heat and the Thunder have not yet played this season.
Prediction: Miami Heat win 4-3 and become the NBA Champion.