The first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs is winding down as the defending champion Miami Heat became the first team to earn a berth in the conference semifinals, sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks out of the playoffs on Sunday.
With one series already in the books, who'll be the next team to advance to the second round?
Here we'll get you set for both of Monday's much-anticipated elimination games.
Derrick Rose-less Bulls Go For Knockout Punch in Brooklyn
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Nets (-5.5), according to Covers.com.
After getting blown out by 17 points in Game 1 in Brooklyn, the Chicago Bulls returned in Game 2, playing their notoriously stifling defense, holding the Nets to 82 points, tying the series at a game apiece and stealing home-court advantage.
Now, following two Bulls wins in Chicago, including a triple overtime thriller in Game 4 on Saturday, Tom Thibodeau's Derrick Rose-less squad is one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second time in three seasons.
So, which Bulls team will show up in Brooklyn on Monday night?
If it's the Bulls team that allowed 106 points and 134 points in Games 1 and 4 respectively, the Nets will likely force a Game 6 back in Chicago. Otherwise, it'll be the Bulls and their fearsome defense heading to the second round to face the top-seeded Miami Heat.
Short-Handed Thunder Eye Sweep of Rockets
Where: Toyota Center, Houston
When: Monday, April 29 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Thunder (-1.5), according to Covers.com.
The Oklahoma City Thunder should be considered lucky to be up 3-0 on the Houston Rockets coming into Monday night's Game 4 in Houston. After destroying the Rockets by nearly 30 points in Game 1, the Thunder won Games 2 and 3 each by just three points.
OKC can feel good about winning Game 3 without star point guard Russell Westbrook, who has been lost for the year to a knee injury. But the Thunder will have to figure out a way to win 13 more games without Westbrook in order to earn the right to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy as NBA champions at season's end.
The Thunder should have no issue advancing to the second round given their overwhelming advantage in this series with Houston, but Game 4 won't come easy.
Sure, Kevin Durant is averaging over 31 points per game in this series and poured in 41 in Game 3, but James Harden is right on his tail, averaging a shade under 29 points in these playoffs.
Expect a pumped-up crowd in Clutch City on Monday night as Harden and the Rockets prepare to play for their postseason lives. If OKC found it difficult to win inside Toyota Center with a 26-point advantage on Saturday night, just wait until Monday night.
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