Anybody who avidly plays NBA 2K13 knows how realistic its gameplay is. Now we're about to find out how realistic its simulations are!
We decided to fire up the only professional basketball game on the market and sim every round of the 2012-13 NBA postseason.
We went through every round of the playoffs just once. Injuries were turned on and all "normal" NBA rules were used here.
So let's take a look at the results from our experiment and see how much NBA 2K13 can do in helping us prognosticate the rest of the playoffs.
Note: This was done with updated rosters as of 4/29/13.
Note No.2: Article updated on 5/1/13
Simulation Result: Miami Heat Defeat Milwaukee Bucks in Five Games
Real Result: Heat Defeat Bucks in Four Games
Heat Leading Performer: LeBron James, 27 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 7.6 assists
Buck Leading Performer: Monta Ellis, 23.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 5.8 APG
Notable Stat 1: Wade posted 42/7/9 in Game 2.
Notable Stat 2: Ellis shot 5-of-23 in the Bucks' elimination game.
Notable Stat 3: Heat score 130 in Game 2, shoot 62 percent from the field as a team.
Other than a stunning 15-point victory in Game 3 for Milwaukee, this series was all Miami. All four of Miami's wins were by double digits.
In that Game 3 victory for the Bucks, Brandon Jennings scored 27 on 10-of-13 shooting. However, in the rest of the series, Miami shut down Jennings.
Not only was the Heat's defense great, but the team's offense was top-notch as well. As they did in the real series, Miami received key contributions from its stars and its bench shooters.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, this simulation was very accurate when compared to reality.
Milwaukee had little chance of winning a game against Miami without great play from Jennings. In reality, Jennings played awful and Milwaukee was swept.
Simulation Result: New York Knicks Defeat Boston Celtics in Seven Games
Real Result: Knicks leading series 3-2
Knicks Leading Performer: Carmelo Anthony, 33.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 4.2 APG
Celtics Leading Performer: Kevin Garnett, 20.3 PPG, 15.7 RPG and 1.3 BPG
Notable Stat 1: Knicks make 14-of-26 three-pointers in pivotal Game 7.
Notable Stat 2: Celtics scored 100 points in every game.
Notable Stat 3: Anthony scored 41 points in must-win Game 6.
While in reality the Celtics-Knicks series has been offensively challenged, this simulation featured plenty of scoring. Both teams lit it up from beyond the arc, especially Boston who shot 45.5 percent on three-pointers for the series.
NBA 2K13 showed the Knicks defense to be vulnerable, which makes plenty of sense, considering the Knicks finished 18th in defensive rating in the regular season.
But the Celtics real offense hasn't been able to take advantage of the Knicks defense and it has sputtered all series long. It's why they currently find themselves in a 3-1 hole.
Our results suggest Boston can get back into this series if its shots start falling. But if not, Anthony will end up being too much for them, as he was in the virtual world.
Simulation Result: Atlanta Hawks Beat Indiana Pacers in Six Games
Real Result: Pacers leading series 3-2
Hawks Leading Performer: Josh Smith, 27.3 PPG, 10.67 RPG, 2.16 BPG
Pacers Leading Performer: Paul George, 20.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 4.3 APG
Notable Stat 1: Hawks scored 125 points in Game 3.
Notable Stat 2: Pacers shot under 40 percent from the field twice in the series.
Notable Stat 3: Al Horford and Josh Smith both averaged a double-double.
The virtual Hawks were able to win this series doing what few teams were able to consistently do against the Pacers in the 2012-13 season: Score!
Atlanta continually fed its top two players in Horford and Smith, and the results were excellent. The Hawks also had the edge on the glass in the 2K13 series, which is something they haven't had in the actual series.
Our results tell us what the Hawks need to do to win this series, but it's easier to get 110 points on the Pacers intense defense in a video game than in a real game.
On the other hand, Videogame Pacers had real difficulty scoring against the Hawks. NBA 2K13 tells us that it's going to be hard for Indiana to win the real life series if they continue to struggle from beyond the arc.
Simulation Result: Chicago Bulls Win in Six Games
Real Result: Bulls leading series 3-2
Nets Leading Performer: Joe Johnson, 22.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 7.5 APG
Bulls Leading Performer: Luol Deng, 23 PPG and 9.6 RPG
Notable Stat 1: Bulls scored over 120 points twice.
Notable Stat 2: Bulls out-rebounded the Nets by 23 in Game 2.
Notable Stat 3: Nets shot 39 percent in Game 6.
Perhaps Nate Robinson's real-life Game 4 outburst wasn't so outrageous after all, as our video game series saw Robinson spark the Bulls offense in multiple games.
Along with the Bulls offense coming alive in our simulation, Brooklyn's offense died. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez all had fine series', but the Nets received little offensive production from anybody else.
The key from our results, though, was the Bulls offense. If it can produce in reality like it did in our experiment, then Chicago should be able to pull off the minor upset.
The Nets, on the other hand, need to win the battle on the glass if they are to comeback in this series, according to NBA 2K13.
Brooklyn was able to win Game 4 in real-life in part because they were the better rebounding team. Our simulation saw the Nets losing all of the games it was out-rebounded in.
Simulated Result: Oklahoma City Thunder Defeat Houston Rockets in Five Games
Real Result: Thunder leading series 3-2
Thunder Leading Performer: Kevin Durant, 37.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 5.2 RPG
Rockets Leading Performer: James Harden, 23.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 5.2 APG
Notable Stat 1: Durant scored over 40 points four times.
Notable Stat 2: No team had more than 10 fast-break points in a game.
Notable Stat 3: The Rockets' minus-13.6 point differential was the worst for any playoff team.
The Thunder clearly didn't miss Russell Westbrook in the virtual first-round series. Kevin Durant absolutely took over and willed the Thunder to an easy series win.
Reggie Jackson also stepped up in our experiment, scoring more than 20 points twice.
As is the case in real life, the Rockets were no match for the Thunder's dominant offense in this series. Oklahoma City scored more than 115 points three times in the video game simulation.
NBA 2K13 unsurprisingly tells us that the key to the Rockets stealing games is Harden. In Houston's only win in our sim, Harden had 39 points. The Rockets will need that type of production from him if they are to come away with another win in reality.
Real Result: San Antonio Spurs Defeat Los Angeles Lakers in Six Games
Simulated Result: Spurs Defeat Lakers in Four Games
Spurs Leading Performer: Tony Parker, 20.5 PPG, and 6.5 APG
Lakers Leading Performer: Dwight Howard, 34.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 2.2 BPG
Notable Stat 1: Andrew Goudelock averaged 24.3 points.
Notable Stat 2: The Spurs shot 62 percent from the field in a 29-point Game 2 win.
Notable Stat 3: The Spurs scored over 100 points in every game.
The Lakers were able to hang in this series simply because Videogame Dwight was able to do a lot more against the Spurs than Actual Dwight was.
In reality, the Lakers desperately needed Dwight to play this type of elite basketball with the team being so short-handed.
Still, as our results shows, the Spurs offense had such an advantage against the Lakers' below-average defense, that Dwight at his best still wouldn't have been enough.
Simulated Result: Denver Nuggets Defeat Golden State Warriors in Five Games
Real Result: Warriors Leading Series 3-2
Nuggets Leading Performer: Ty Lawson, 16.6 PPG, 7.8 APG and 1.6 SPG
Warriors Leading Performer: Stephen Curry, 19.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 6.6 APG
Notable Stat 1: Nuggets won both road games they played.
Notable Stat 2: Curry had under 15 points three times in the series.
Notable Stat 3: Warriors made 3-of-22 three-pointers in Game 5.
In our simulation, Denver was able to shut down Curry at Oracle Arena, allowing him to score just 35 points in the two games played there.
In reality, though, Curry has fed off of an unbelievable Golden State crowd and led the Warriors to two home victories.
NBA 2K13 tells us that the key for Golden State is Curry carrying the team. He's done that so far in Warrior wins and its why the Nuggets find themselves on the brink of elimination.
For Denver, the key is offensive balance. In the video game series, Denver had six (and almost seven) players average double-digit scoring.
Real Result: Los Angeles Clippers Defeat Memphis Grizzlies in Five Games
Simulated Result: Grizzlies Leading Series 3-2
Clippers Leading Performer: Chris Paul, 18.6 PPG, 7.0 APG and 2.4 SPG
Grizzlies Leading Performer: Mike Conley, 16.4 PPG, 9.8 APG and 1.2 SPG
Notable Stat 1: The Grizzlies made one three-pointer in Game 3.
Notable Stat 2: Blake Griffin was the Clippers' top scorer in four games.
Notable Stat 3: The Clippers' bench outscored the Grizzlies' bench by 30 in Game 2.
In our experiment, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford had no problem overcoming Memphis' physical defense and were able to win the series with ease.
That hasn't been the case in reality, as the Clippers haven't topped 85 points in their last two games.
If our simulation tells us anything, it's that Griffin has to get it going offensively. Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies frontcourt are clearly playing him tough. However, if Griffin can have success down low, the Clippers will have a great shot of eliminating Memphis.
But if Randolph wins that matchup, and Conley continues to distribute the ball well, then this series could shift Memphis' way, according to our results.
Simulated Result: Heat Defeat Bulls in Five Games
Heat Leading Performer: LeBron James, 28 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 7.2 APG
Bulls Leading Performer: Nate Robinson, 17.4 PPG and 2.4 SPG
Notable Stat 1: Heat shot better than 50 percent in every game.
Notable Stat 2: The Bulls reached 100 points once in the series.
Notable Stat 3: Chris Bosh had four double-doubles.
As will likely be the case if this series ends up taking place in reality, Miami had too much offense and Chicago didn't have enough in the NBA 2K13 sim.
Miami won multiple games in this series by 30 points, while Chicago had multiple games where it scored under 80 points.
It really is a bad sign for the Chicago offense that our projection finds Robinson as its top offensive option. The Bulls simply didn't have the scorers that could match LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for a seven-game series.
Simulated Result: Knicks Defeat Hawks in Seven Games
Knicks Leading Performer: Carmelo Anthony, 22.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG
Hawks Leading Performer: Josh Smith, 17.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Notable Stat 1: The Hawks' bench outscored New York's bench 50-6 in Game 3.
Notable Stat 2: New York's highest single-game point total in the series was 103.
Notable Stat 3: J.R. Smith scored over 20 points in every game.
This simulation was heavy on the defense, as the majority of games featured both teams not reaching 100 points.
This video game matchup also showed both teams to be fairly even. Neither team was able to win two games in a row.
The difference in the series turned out to be the Knicks having a player of Carmelo's caliber and the Hawks not having one. The Knicks' top scorer poured on 42 in the series-deciding Game 7 victory.
Simulated Result: Thunder defeat Clippers in Seven Games
Thunder Leading Performer: Kevin Durant, 35.1 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 5.0 APG
Clippers Leading Performer: Jamal Crawford, 19.57 PPG and 4.8 APG
Notable Stat 1: Durant scored 48 points in Game 5.
Notable Stat 2: The Thunder beat the Clippers by 42 in Game 2.
Notable Stat 3: The home team won every game.
As was the case in our first-round simulation with the Thunder, this series was all about Durant.
They say that the team with the best player in a series usually wins, and Durant badly out-dueled Chris Paul in this second-round 2K13 series. Paul didn't top 10 assists in a game once and even had a two-assist performance in Game 2.
The Thunder still looked good without Westbrook, as Kevin Martin helped pick up some of the offensive slack. The Oklahoma City sixth man scored 37 in Game 7.
In the end, the key to the series was offense, and OKC ended up having more of it than the Clippers.
Simulated Result: Spurs Defeat Nuggets in Seven Games
Spurs Leading Performer: Tony Parker, 24.2 PPG and 6.7 APG
Nuggets Leading Performer: Wilson Chandler, 17.4 PPG and 5.5 RPG
Notable Stat 1: Javale McGee was Denver's leading scorer in Game 7.
Notable Stat 2: The Spurs had more fast-break points in every game.
Notable Stat 3: Nuggets were held under 100 points four times.
This series was close all the way through, with three games being decided by four points or less. But what ultimately swung it in San Antonio's favor is that they found a way to eventually shut down the Denver offense, while the Nuggets defense couldn't do the same thing to San Antonio.
In Game 7, the Spurs shot 25 percent better from the field than Denver and held the Nuggets to 76 points.
Our simulation really showed how strong San Antonio's offensive and defense balance can be in a seven-game series.
Result: Heat Defeat Knicks in Four
Heat Leading Performer: LeBron James, 25.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 8.5 APG
Knicks Leading Performer: Carmelo Anthony, 27.5 PPG and 6.5 APG
Notable Stat 1: The Heat had more offensive rebounds in every game.
Notable Stat 2: The Heat shot over 43 percent from three-point range in every game.
Notable Stat 3: Amar'e Stoudemire had two double-doubles.
NBA 2K13 clearly expects Miami to prove just how superior they are to the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Only one game in this series was decided by under 10 points. The rest were blowouts.
LeBron and Wade both averaged 25 points, while the Heat defense was able to slow down every Knick offensively not named Anthony.
Miami was by far the more efficient offensive and defensive team in the season, and that was on display in this series.
In our simulation, the Heat lose only two games on their way to the NBA Finals.
Simulated Result: Thunder Defeat Spurs in Six
Thunder Leading Performer: Kevin Durant, 30 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 4.5 APG
Spurs Leading Performer: Tim Duncan, 22 PPG and 10.1 RPG
Notable Stat 1: Patty Mills, filling in for an injured Tony Parker, scored over 20 points in both Game 3 and Game 4.
Notable Stat 2: The Spurs had two games where they shot under 20 percent on three-pointers.
Notable Stat 3: Kevin Durant had 39 points and 11 rebounds in the series-clinching game.
Injuries are always a worry with the Spurs, and they caught a bit of bad luck here. Parker suffered an injury in Game 2 and didn't return to action until Game 6. Patty Mills filled in admirably for Parker, but his play wasn't enough.
The Thunder, specifically Durant, took advantage of Parker's injury, and will face Miami in a 2012 NBA Finals rematch in our 2K13 simulation.
Entering the finals, Durant has put together one of the best postseasons in recent memory, averaging at least 30 points in every series.
While Durant and the Thunder offense has been a key story in our experiment, Oklahoma City's defense did an excellent job in this series slowing down the Spurs offense.
Simulated Result: Heat Defeat Thunder in Five Games
Heat Leading Performer: Dwyane Wade, 27.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.2 APG
Thunder Leading Performer: Kevin Durant, 27.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 4.8 APG
Notable Stat 1: Miami won every game played in Oklahoma City.
Notable Stat 2: The Heat shot over 50 percent on three-pointers twice.
Notable Stat 3: The Thunder never had more than 20 assists in a game.
Our NBA 2K13 experiment ended with Miami winning its second consecutive title against the same opponent.
After dropping Game 1, Miami won four straight, including three in Oklahoma City. Miami finished with the best road record in the regular season, and the Heat proved to be road warriors again here.
As usually is the case with Miami, the difference here was Wade and James. The two dominated in all areas of the game for the entirety of the series.
Not having Westbrook finally caught up with the Thunder. Oklahoma City needed more scoring from players other than Durant, who was finally held to under 30 points per game in a series, but didn't get it.
The Heat are the virtual champions and seem primed to be the real champions in a little more than a month.