NBA Playoff Schedule 2012: Power Ranking Top Sunday Game 4 Matchups

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks drives against Chris Bosh #1, Shane Battier #31 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA playoffs have been superb so far, and they're only going to get better as Sunday is jam packed with great games. 

It's the Eastern Conference games dominating the Sunday lineup, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Each game has star power and plenty of good storylines to follow, so spending your whole day watching the playoffs would be a wise decision. 

With that said, here's how I rank Sunday's Game 4 matchups. 


4. Chicago at Philadelphia 

Tipoff: 1 p.m. ET on ABC

Compared to the other games, the Bulls and the 76ers lack the firepower that will keep fans hooked. 

Yes, the past couple games have been close, but with Derrick Rose out, this series has become much less entertaining. 

Philadelphia has won two games in a row now, and with another home game they should take a sizable lead in the series. 

Chicago was hit hard with the injury bug, which resulted in this series becoming almost a snooze fest. 

Prediction: 76ers 89, Bulls 81 


3. L.A. Lakers at Denver 

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Corey Brewer #13 of the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, Califor
Harry How/Getty Images

Tipoff: 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Kobe Bryant and company should be up three games and looking to sweep the Nuggets here, but instead the Lakers dug themselves a whole and just couldn't make a comeback.

A poor performance from Kobe, (7-of-23 from the field and just 3-of-10 from three-point land) hindered the Lakers, but they can easily take care of business tonight. 

The Lakers have to prove they can win on the road in the postseason, or else they're in real trouble. 

This is a series Los Angeles should have no trouble closing out, so look for Kobe and the rest of the Lakers to pick up their third win of the series on Sunday. 

Prediction: Lakers 101, Nuggets 92


2. Atlanta at Boston 

BOSTON, MA - MAY 04:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks works his way to the basket against Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, M
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET on TNT

The Hawks and the Celtics continue to fight hard, and their overtime game on Friday night was a great indication this will be a tough series. 

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this series go to a Game 7, which would be spectacular for the first round of the playoffs. 

Atlanta desperately needs a win, but playing in Boston is no easy task. It's up to Joe Johnson to carry the Hawks again, and considering how much they pay him, he better come through. 

This would be the top game for Sunday, but my gut tells me Miami and New York are going to put on one heck of a show.

Prediction Celtics 87, Hawks 83 


1. Miami at New York 

Tipoff: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Yes, the Heat happen to be up 3-0 on the Knicks, but that doesn't mean this isn't a game to watch. In fact, its' the top game to watch on Sunday. 

New York has their back against the wall, which should force them to play even harder. The Knicks have been blown out the entire series, but this is their last shot. They're going to play better and deliver a great game. 

Miami thinks it has this game in the bag, but that will be the Heat's downfall as New York will play very well, keeping fans on the edge of their seats all game long.

Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to return to action, but even if he doesn't, the Knicks will be motivated enough to avoid embarrassment, giving Miami a tough fight. In the end, I have the Heat winning, but it'll be much closer than most think.  

Prediction: Heat 97, Knicks 95 



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