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NBA Playoff Schedule 2013: Predictions for Remainder of Conference Finals

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 25:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts while taking on the Memphis Grizzlies during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the FedExForum on May 25, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. 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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2013

While one series appears to be wrapping up, the other is just getting started. The one thing true in both matchups in the NBA playoffs is that every game remaining is important. 

Despite being down 3-0, the Memphis Grizzlies have the toughness and defensive ability to remain in contention. Fortunately, the San Antonio Spurs are experienced enough not to assume the series is over.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are interlocked in a great battle, and the defending champs are having a much harder time than many expected. Currently Miami is up 2-1. 

There is still plenty of basketball remaining, so here is a look at what to expect for the rest of the conference finals.

 

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

Game Date Time (ET) Home Team TV
4 May 28 8:30 p.m. Pacers TNT
5 May 30 8:30 p.m. Heat TNT
6 June 1 8:30 p.m. Pacers TNT
7 June 3 8:30 p.m. Heat TNT

Based on the back-and-forth nature of this series, it would not be at all surprising to see it go the distance. Indiana has shown that it is not afraid of the Heat, and the squad is willing to do what is necessary to come out on top.

Combine this mental toughness with the squad's ability to play great team defense, and you can be certain that Indiana will keep bouncing back no matter what the Heat throw at them.

On the other hand, Miami has struggled with consistency on both ends of the court in this series. The team has to do a better job of getting the ball to the best players, and that does not only mean LeBron James.

Still, the Heat are incredibly strong defensively and will continue to make adjustments necessary to keep the rest of the games low-scoring.

After the series started out at 1-1, do not be surprised if we also see the matchup at 2-2 and eventually 3-3. Should the series go to Game 7, however, the Heat will have the support of the home crowd along with the best player in the sport.

James will be able to lead his team to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.

Prediction: Heat win in seven games

 

San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Game Date Time (ET) Home Team TV
4 May 27 9 p.m. Grizzlies ESPN
5 May 29 9 p.m. Spurs ESPN
6 May 31 9 p.m. Grizzlies ESPN
7 June 2 9 p.m. Spurs ESPN

Things have not gone according to plan for the Grizzlies so far in this series. After getting blown out in Game 1, they have lost in overtime in each of the past two games.

At first glance, it is encouraging that they have remained close in the two most recent contests. It provides hope that the squad can provide that little extra boost to come out ahead.

Considering that Zach Randolph has only made 30 percent of his shots from the floor in this series and Mike Conley is only slightly better at 40.4 percent (including 30.8 percent from three-point range), there is plenty of room to improve.

Unfortunately, this series is also showing how much experience and confidence can make a difference. Memphis has never reached this stage in franchise history, while the Spurs have gotten at least this far eight times since Tim Duncan joined the team in 1997.

The core of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili know what it takes to win close games, and these players have been coming through in the clutch throughout the postseason.

If Randolph can figure out a way to make shots in the next game, Memphis has the ability to keep the series alive with a home win. However, it is extremely unlikely the squad can get more than that.

Prediction: Spurs win in five games

 

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