Round-by-Round Predictions for the 2013 NBA Playoffs

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Round-by-Round Predictions for the 2013 NBA Playoffs
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Will the Chosen One be crowned King again?

The NBA postseason must be near, because a number of teams have been resting their starters and citing an assortment of nagging injuries as the reason.

Therefore, it's time to prognosticate months into the future and reveal to you the 2013 NBA champion...not yet, keep reading.

Unquestionably, the excitement of the playoffs comes somewhat at the expense of the regular season's final month.

On Saturday night alone, the list of notable players who did not play a single minute included Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Josh Smith and Al Horford.

For a team like the Atlanta Hawks, this amounts to trading the risk of a lower playoff seed for a well-rested star. 

If the season ended on Sunday morning, these would be the first-round matchups:

 

Eastern Conference

  • No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks
  • No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics
  • No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks
  • No. 4 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls

 

Western Conference

  • No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 8 L.A. Lakers
  • No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 7 Houston Rockets
  • No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors
  • No. 4 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

But there's more than enough left in the regular season to keep fans speculating about matchups until the final day. 

Some teams have as many as seven games remaining while others have just four more chances to improve their standing.

With so few games left, the playoff picture won't change very much over the next week-and-a-half, but some key alterations still lie on the horizon.

First, let's examine what changes will occur to the playoff brackets, then we'll find out which unfortunates are bound for a first-round flameout and who will seize the Larry O'Brien trophy.

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