NBA Playoffs 2012: Predicting Eastern and Western Conference Finals Matchups

Luis BatlleContributor IMay 6, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics during a game  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA playoffs, like any postseason in basketball, has been everything fans have looked forward to. From last-second finishes to historic comebacks, this has been a memorable NBA playoffs.

Yet, unlike most postseasons in league history, injuries to some of the league's star players and teams heating up have made it clear which teams will be making a run at the conference finals.

Is it all but over for the No. 1 Chicago Bulls and their predicted conference finals run without Derrick Rose? Are the No. 1 San Antonio Spurs soon to be defeated?

These are the two conference finals matchups that fans should expect to see in 2012.

 

Eastern Conference Finals: No. 2 Miami Heat vs. No. 4 Boston Celtics

It might just be three games into the playoffs, but there is no question that the Celtics and the monstrous Miami Heat are set to meet in this year's conference finals.

After looking like a team ready to put an end to its run in Game 1, the Celtics won their next two games and looks like a team that is set to make a deep playoff run.

Not to mention, a potential second-round matchup against the No. 1 Bulls is now hanging in the balance, with the 76ers up two games to one and Derrick Rose on the sideline with a torn ACL.

The Heat, meanwhile, are up 3-0 and are likely to take the Knicks out in four games with the dominance they have shown in the series. Both the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, set to take on the Heat in the second round, are teams that don't have the offensive firepower to keep up with that of Miami.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT  - MAY 5: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs keeps the ball away from referee Ken Mauer #41during the fourth quarter of Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Utah Jazz in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolu
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Expect an Eastern Conference finals of epic proportions between these two East powerhouses, as injuries to Derrick Rose and the dominance of the Heat over the Knicks will have these two teams duking it out for a spot in the NBA Finals.

 

Western Conference Finals: No. 1 San Antonio vs. No. 3 L.A. Lakers

The San Antonio Spurs have emerged as the team to beat in the league, and they are cruising through their first-round matchup against the Utah Jazz. Up three games to zero, point guard Tony Parker has the troops playing as well as they have all season. Tim Duncan has also been a major contributor for this ballclub, averaging 15.3 points and 10 rebounds per contest.

If Duncan can continue to put up numbers and Parker can take on the scoring load, this will be a tough team for any team in the conference to knock out.

Meanwhile, as dominant as the Oklahoma City Thunder have proven themselves to be all season long, the L.A. Lakers will take down this team in the second round of the playoffs. O

On the inside, there is no team in the league that boasts the type of size and skill that the Lakers do. Andrew Bynum continues to improve and have moments of greatness, while Pau Gasol continues to be the dominant force he is offensively. There is no stopping this Lakers squad.

 

Prediction: L.A. Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

A rematch from the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals, expect the Lakers and Celtics to meet once again in the 2012 NBA Finals. A Kobe Bryant-Paul Pierce rivalry would make for a matchup of the ages, as there is a strong chance that these two teams meet in the finals this postseason.