NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: When to Watch Best First-Round Matchups

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NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: When to Watch Best First-Round Matchups
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From the opening tip-off, the 2013 NBA Playoffs will provide plenty of must-watch action this year as the best teams in the league battle it out for the championship.

And while it might seem like the best action will be found in a few weeks time once the Conference Finals and Championship Series rolls around, the reality is that there's a myriad of brilliant matchups to be found in the first-round this year.

The first-round this year is shaping as one of the strongest in recent history, with some matchups in particular you won't want to miss.

Read on to see when to catch the action from the 2013 NBA Playoffs, and which matchups in particular will make the first-round so enthralling this year.

 

2013 NBA Playoffs Schedule

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Game 1 schedule provided via USA Today. Check back for more details involving later dates when schedule is updated during the week.

 

Eastern Conference

Game Date Time (ET) TV
Bucks [8] at Heat [1] Sunday, April 21 - -
Celtics [7] at Knicks [2] Saturday, April 20 3:00 p.m. ABC
Hawks [6] at Pacers [3] Sunday, April 21 - -
Bulls [5] at Nets [4] Saturday, April 20 - -


Western Conference

Game Date Time (ET) TV
Rockets [8] at Thunder [1] Sunday, April 21 - -
Lakers [7] at Spurs [2] Sunday, April 21 - -
Warriors [6] at Nuggets [3] Saturday, April 20 - -
Grizzlies [5] at Clippers [4] Saturday, April 20 - -

 

Can't Miss Games from First-Round

Boston Celtics [7] at New York Knicks [2]

Elsa/Getty Images

Both the Celtics and the Knicks have been told at various points throughout the season that their current squads were too old to compete in the postseason.

Yet after this one is finished, one of these teams is going to be in the final four of the East and in with a great chance to move through to the Conference Finals.

The Celtics-Knicks rivalry will no doubt take another hammering in this one, with trash-talk, flaring tempers and technical fouls all completely expected here. The question is, who's going to emerge triumphant from all the chaos that will take place over the best-of-seven series?

Carmelo Anthony has been in simply unstoppable form for the Knicks of late—averaged 36.9 points per game in April—and will represent a huge threat for Boston, whose offense will need to bring their A-game if they're going to keep up with the Knicks sans Rajon Rondo.

Yet as they've proven this year, the C's are more than capable of getting it done through Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and should push the Knicks all the way.

This will be an epic series, and you won't want to miss a minute.

Prediction: Knicks win in seven.

 

Golden State Warriors [6] at Denver Nuggets [3]

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Denver will come into the playoffs this year with a formidable home record (three losses all season) but seriously depleted on offense due to injuries. Which, when you're coming up against the red-hot Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, isn't what the Nuggets will have wanted. 

If Curry can continue his incredible hot-streak, then the Warriors are a real chance of knocking off the No. 3 seed, even with their home court advantage.

This is a team that ranks eighth in three-point field goals and first in three-point field goal percentage. Moreover, big man David Lee should find great room to operate inside against a Kenneth Faried-less Nuggets, and could well provide the difference Golden State need to win on the road.

Without Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets' offense will struggle to match it against the Warriors if it comes to a shootout. Denver will be desperate to avoid that, but against Curry, it seems there will be no other way for the Nuggets, and it could well lead to their downfall in the end.

Definitely one to keep an eye on—especially if Curry gets hot again.

Prediction: Warriors win in seven.

 

Chicago Bulls [5] at Brooklyn Nets [4]

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Let's get this statement out in the open—Brooklyn have the potential to take down Miami, as long as they can get through the Chicago Bulls in the first round.

Brook Lopez is a monster inside and with the likes of Deron Williams and MarShon Brooks capable of exploding at any given moment, the Nets could beat the Heat in the Conference Semifinals. Their matchup against Chicago, however, is not so easy.

Even without Derrick Rose (though, wouldn't it be great if he made a shock return!), the Bulls possess plenty of offensive firepower to hurt Brooklyn.

Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have been on fire of late, and if they can get rolling against the Nets, we should see a very close and tight seven-game series. 

If Williams gets hot, the Nets could run away with it, but he also has the potential to knock his team out of it. I think he gets hot early, and the Nets will use that to pull through this one—though it certainly will be a close one throughout.

Prediction: Nets win in six.

 

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