NBA Playoff Predictions 2013: First Round Matchups Bound to Go Seven Games
After two days of action in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, all eight series have completed their first game. Every home team emerged victorious, thus setting the stage for the favorites to advance into the second round.
Before we jump the gun on which series will end swiftly, however, we must ask—which first round matchups will go to seven games?
With the way that Game 1 transpired in each respective series, the postseason is shaping up to have numerous first-round sweeps. After all, the home teams not only swept the first games of action, but they did so in rather impressive fashion.
Alol Pattani of ESPN provides the numbers.
Home teams 8-0 in #NBA playoffs 1st Rd Gm 1s. Avg margin of 16.0 PPG, 5 decided by 17+ Pts. DEN-GS aside, hoping for more competitive Gm 2s.— Alok Pattani (@AlokPattaniESPN) April 22, 2013
So every series is going to be a sweep, right? Wrong.
No matter what the final score may display, numerous games were highly-competitive. A majority of the double-digit wins simply came down to one team getting on a fourth-quarter run that the opposition was unable to match.
Don't expect that to be the way the entire series plays out.
New York Knicks 1, Boston Celtics 0
Entering the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the series that most expected to go to seven games is the one between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. During Game 1, the Knicks emerged victorious by a score of 85-78 in a defensive slug fest.
As the competitive nature of Game 1 displays, this clash between Atlantic Division foes is bound to go to seven games.
During Game 1, the Celtics' second unit combined to shoot 0-of-7 from the floor and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Paul Pierce, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, and Kevin Garnett, a surefire Hall of Famer, combined to go just 10-of-27 from the field.
Chances are, that won't happen again.
As for the Knicks, they shot just 40.5 percent from the field and scored just 85 points. That may be a testament to Boston's defense, but there's a slim possibility that the Knicks fail to top 90 points at any other point of this series.
With both teams having their best days ahead of them, expect this one to go right down to the wire and place the burden of clutch success upon scoring champion Carmelo Anthony.
Denver Nuggets 1, Golden State Warriors 0
The Denver Nuggets took Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors, overcoming a game-tying three-pointer by Stephen Curry to win 97-95. Andre Miller sunk the Warriors, dropping in a lay-up with 1.3 seconds remaining.
How much more of a sign do you need that this series will go to seven games?
There is reason for the concern with the Golden State Warriors, as David Lee will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right hip flexor. Lee, who led the league in double-doubles, will certainly be missed.
With that being said, the Nuggets' leading rebounder, Kenneth Faried, continues to nurse a sprained left ankle.
Even without Lee, the Warriors match up well against the Nuggets. Both teams thrive in transition, with the Nuggets entering the paint and Golden State thriving with the three-ball.
It just so happens that the Warriors led the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage and Denver placed 25th.
After Stephen Curry shot just 7-of-20 and Ty Lawson went 6-of-15, we're all expecting to see both teams elevate their level of play. With this in mind, it's quite likely that every game will be decided late.
A seven-game series appears to be the only possibility.
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