2013 NBA Playoff Brackets: Top Teams That Will Breeze Through Opening Round
All the talk heading into the 2013 NBA Playoffs will be about upsets and in particular, which teams are capable of pulling off an upset in the opening round.
Can the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers pull a stunning upset in the West? Will Boston somehow pull the opening round again with their aging stars?
Those questions will be the hottest questions for the next few weeks, and the answer for many games is that we just don't know. There could be an upset; there could not be—we just don't know which teams will emerge as winners given how close the prospective matchups will be.
However, for many first-round matchups, the winners is all but guaranteed.
They've usually performed well all season, possess a strong starting five and great depth and will not be tested by their opponent in the opening round.
They're the teams you can bank on making it through to the conference semifinals—read on to see which top teams will do just that (with ease) this year.
Los Angeles Clippers  vs. Memphis Grizzlies 
The Clippers are on a roll right now—winning their last six—and will welcome the Memphis Grizzles to town for a first-round matchup that's definitely in their favor.
Star guard Chris Paul is playing arguably some of his best basketball, and with an explosive frontcourt to match, the Clippers are a very tough team to knock out, especially given that they'll carry home-court advantage through the series.
The two teams have nearly identical records for the season (both home and away), so there's no real advantage in that regard for the Clippers.
The advantage will come in having a deep and talented bench, much like they did in the playoffs last year. That showed to be true as the Clippers rallied back to defeat Memphis last weekend courtesy of a surprise involvement from guys like Grant Hill.
That depth is something that the Grizzles just can't stop, and given how physical L.A. is inside, Memphis will struggle to win without their usual dominance in the paint.
Look for the Clippers to breeze through this one in style.
Prediction: Clippers win in five.
Miami Heat  vs. Milwaukee Bucks 
We're not going to spend a whole lot of time on this one, given how likely it is that Miami will simply roll through Milwaukee like a little snack before breakfast in the playoffs this year.
The Bucks are a sub .500 team whereas the Heat are arguably the best team in the league, with some of the most explosive players on the court at any given moment. The fact they were winning games with their scrubs over the past few days also shows how deep their roster currently is.
They have LeBron James; Milwaukee does not. End of story.
Prediction: Heat win in four.
Indiana Pacers  vs. Atlanta Hawks 
Atlanta will come into this one needing their offense to play at its full potential. If not, the Pacers will likely walk away with a pretty comfortable victory.
The Pacers rank first in points allowed per 100 possessions, and their strong defense will give them a huge advantage here. Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West have been simply dominant at both ends of the court, but particularly on defense, and will surely continue that against Atlanta.
The Hawks will have Josh Smith potentially trying to play for his future (which should see him chalk up a strong series), but not even he will be able to carry them past Indiana here.
The Pacers have overcome adversity plenty of times throughout the season and will do again in this one—regardless of the lack of production they might get from their bench. They have covered Danny Granger's absence all year and will likely do so once more in this one.
Al Horford will be shut down by the Pacers' big men inside, and Smith and Jeff Teague won't be able to cover his production from outside. That might not reveal itself straight away, but over the course of the series, it will surely prove to be the difference for both teams as the Pacers pull away in the end.
Prediction: Pacers win in six.
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