2013 NBA Playoffs

NBA Playoffs Schedule 2013: Highlighting Top First-Round Matchups

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics get into an altercation at Madison Square Garden on January 7, 2013 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. The Celtics defeated the Knicks 102-96.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2013

The 2013 NBA playoff schedule has been finalized, and the excitement over the top matchups of the first round has the basketball world at a fever pitch.

Not only will the fans be able to gauge the top teams to determine which are legitimate contenders and which are postseason pretenders, the excitement over the possible first-round upsets has NBA fans ecstatic.

All of the following matchups are the best of the first round, and each of these series has the very real possibility of going seven games and being an instant classic.


No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics

The New York Knicks may hold the 3-1 regular-season series edge in the team’s first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics, but the slate has been cleared for the postseason; this is where the Celtics shine the brightest.

These Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division foes know each other very well, and with NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony dueling with postseason hero Paul Pierce in the series’ marquee matchup, this is bound to be a vicious back-and-forth battle.

Add in the chippy play the Celtics will get from forward Kevin Garnett in the low post, and there is no doubt that Boston has the skill to pull off a shocking upset in the first round.

As talented as Boston is, though, the lack of elite point-guard play with Rajon Rondo out for the season will open the door for Raymond Felton to shine offensively and when distributing the ball.

Prediction: Knicks win the series, 4-3.


No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

Another No. 2 seed that has been put on upset alert is the San Antonio Spurs, who will be pushed to the limit by the No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

While the loss of Kobe Bryant to an Achilles injury has most fans writing off the Lakers this postseason, the fact that Los Angeles even made the playoffs should be enough to give the team the extra life it needs.

After being doubted all season and with nothing to lose, LA will be dangerous.

San Antonio has been dealing with injuries just like the Lakers, but with veteran backcourt duo Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili ready to play in the first round (h/t USA Today), the Spurs should have enough firepower to pull off the series victory.

Los Angeles will not go down without a fight, though, and fans should expect to see Pau Gasol trying to redeem himself for previous poor playoff performances and Dwight Howard trying to earn himself a few more dollars this offseason.

The Lakers will force seven games, but the team will fail to upset the favorite Spurs.

Prediction: Spurs win the series, 4-3.


No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors

While the matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors isn’t the sexiest of the first round, fans must be put on alert; this is the series that could go down as an instant classic when we look back on the 2013 NBA playoffs.

These are two of the fastest-paced teams in the NBA and love to get out in open space and make the spectacular plays. While Denver controls the season series 3-1, the devastating loss of forward Danilo Gallinari (ACL tear) has seriously hurt the Nuggets’ chances of making a deep run.

Instead of being heavily favored over the Warriors, these two teams are as evenly matched as they come; this is going to be a war.

There are intriguing matchups all over the court with Ty Lawson vs. Stephen Curry on the point, Kenneth Faried vs. David Lee in the low post and on the glass and Andre Iguodala vs. Harrison Barnes at the small forward position, and that makes this arguably the best first-round series on paper.

As talented as Golden State is offensively and as well as the team has played all season, the work ethic and defensive prowess of the Nuggets will be the difference in this series.

Prediction: Nuggets win the series, 4-3.


Full NBA First-Round Schedule (via NBA.com)

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks

Game 1 in Miami: Sunday, April 21, 7, TNT

Game 2 in Miami: Tuesday, April 23, 7:30, NBATV

Game 3 in Milwaukee: Thursday, April 25, 7, TNT

Game 4 in Milwaukee: Sunday, April 28, 3:30, ABC

Game 5 in Miami: Tuesday, April 30*

Game 6 in Milwaukee: Thursday, May 2*

Game 7 in Miami: Saturday, May 4*


No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics

Game 1 in New York: Saturday, April 20, 3, ABC

Game 2 in New York: Tuesday, April 23, 8, TNT

Game 3 in Boston: Friday, April 26, 8, ESPN

Game 4 in Boston: Sunday, April 28, 1, ABC (regional)

Game 5 in New York: Wednesday, May 1*

Game 6 in Boston: Friday, May 3*

Game 7 in New York: Sunday, May 5*


No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks

Game 1 in Indianapolis: Sunday, April 21, 1, TNT

Game 2 in Indianapolis: Wednesday, April 24, 7:30, NBATV

Game 3 in Atlanta: Saturday, April 27, 7:30, ESPN

Game 4 in Atlanta: Monday, April 29

Game 5 in Indianapolis: Wednesday, May 1*

Game 6 in Atlanta: Friday, May 3*

Game 7 in Indianapolis: Sunday, May 5*


No. 4 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls

Game 1 in New York: Saturday, April 20, 8, ESPN

Game 2 in New York: Monday, April 22, 8, TNT

Game 3 in Chicago: Thursday, April 25, 8:30, NBATV

Game 4 in Chicago: Saturday, April 27, 2, TNT

Game 5 in New York: Monday, April 29*

Game 6 in Chicago: Thursday, May 2*

Game 7 in New York: Saturday, May 4*


Western Conference

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

Game 1 in Oklahoma City: Sunday, April 21, 9:30, TNT

Game 2 in Oklahoma City: Wednesday, April 24, 7, TNT

Game 3 in Houston: Saturday, April 27, 9:30, ESPN (regional)

Game 4 in Houston: Monday, April 29

Game 5 in Oklahoma City: Wednesday, May 1*

Game 6 in Houston: Friday, May 3*

Game 7 in Oklahoma City: Sunday, May 5*


No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

Game 1 in San Antonio: Sunday, April 21, 3:30, ABC (regional)

Game 2 in San Antonio: Wednesday, April 24, 9:30, TNT

Game 3 in Los Angeles: Friday, April 26, 10:30, ESPN

Game 4 in Los Angeles: Sunday, April 28, 7, TNT

Game 5 in San Antonio: Tuesday, April 30*

Game 6 in Los Angeles: Thursday, May 2*

Game 7 in San Antonio: Saturday, May 4*


No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors

Game 1 in Denver: Saturday, April 21, 5:30, ESPN

Game 2 in Denver: Tuesday, April 23, 10:30, TNT

Game 3 in Oakland: Friday, April 26, 10:30, ESPN2

Game 4 in Oakland: Sunday, April 28, 9:30, TNT

Game 5 in Denver: Tuesday, April 30*

Game 6 in Oakland: Thursday, May 2*

Game 7 in Denver: Saturday, May 4*


No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

Game 1 in Los Angeles: Saturday, April 21, 10:30, ESPN

Game 2 in Los Angeles: Monday, April 22, 10:30, TNT

Game 3 in Memphis: Thursday, April 25, 9:30, TNT

Game 4 in Memphis: Saturday, April 27, 4:30, TNT

Game 5 in Los Angeles: Tuesday, April 30*

Game 6 in Memphis: Friday, May 3*

Game 7 in Los Angeles: Sunday, May 5*

*If necessary.


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