NBA Playoffs 2014: Full 1st-Round Bracket and Surefire Predictions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 5:  John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards celebrates a made basket against the Chicago Bulls during the game at the Verizon Center on April 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Buckle up: The 2014 NBA playoffs aren't the typical romp that sees top teams breeze through the first round.

Parity is rampant in the Western Conference, where eight of the league's top 10 records reside. In the East, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat have seemingly fallen off a cliff despite clutching the top seeds.

It's a recipe for some of the most entertaining first-round ball fans have seen in many years. Really, it's a poetic way to follow up what was a superb NCAA tournament, so enjoy it while it lasts. Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy concurs:

Here's a look at the full first-round bracket, followed by a few bold predictions for good measure.


Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/20 (8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs 12 p.m. TNT
4/23 (8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs 7 p.m. NBATV
4/26 (1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks 3:30 p.m. TNT
4/28 (1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks 8:30 p.m. TNT
4/30 (8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs TBD TBD
5/2 (1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks TBD TBD
5/4 (8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs TBD TBD
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/19 (7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder 9:30 p.m, ESPN
4/21 (7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder 8 p.m. TNT
4/24 (2) Thunder vs. (7) Grizzlies8 p.m. TNT
4/26 (2) Thunder vs. (7) Grizzlies9:30 p.m. ESPN
4/29 (7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder TBD TBD
5/1 (2) Thunder vs. (7) GrizzliesTBD TBD
5/3 (7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder TBD TNT
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/19 (6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers 3:30 p.m. ABC
4/21 (6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers 10:30 p.m. TNT
4/24 (3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors 10:30 p.m. TNT
4/27 (3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors 3:30 p.m. ABC
4/29 (6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers TBD TBD
5/1 (3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors TBD TBD
5/3 (6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers TBD TNT
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/20 (5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets 9:30 p.m. TNT
4/23 (5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets 9:30 p.m. TNT
4/25 (4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers 10:30 p.m. ESPN
4/27 (4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers 9:30 p.m. TNT
4/30 (5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets TBD TBD
5/2 (4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers TBD TBD
5/4 (5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets TBD TBD
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/19 (8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers 7 p.m. ESPN
4/22 (8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers 7 p.m. TNT
4/24 (1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks 7 p.m. NBATV
4/26 (1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks 2 p.m. TNT
4/28 (8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers 8 p.m. NBATV
5/1 (1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks TBD TBD
5/3 (8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers TBD TNT
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/20 (7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat 3:30 p.m. ABC
4/23 (7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat 7 p.m. TNT
4/26 (2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats 7 p.m. ESPN
4/28 (2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats 7 p.m. TNT
4/30 (7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat TBD TBD
5/2 (2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats TBD TBD
5/4 (7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat TBD ABC
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/19 (6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors 12:30 p.m. ESPN
4/22 (6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors 8 p.m. NBATV
4/25 (3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets 7 p.m. ESPN 2
4/27 (3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets 7 p.m. TNT
4/30 (6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors TBD TBD
5/2 (3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets TBD TBD
5/4 (6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors TBD TBD
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
4/20 (5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls 7 p.m. TNT
4/22 (5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls 9:30 p.m. TNT
4/25 (4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards 8 p.m. ESPN
4/27 (4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards 1 p.m. ABC
4/29 (5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls TBD TBD
5/1 (4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards TBD TBD
5/3 (5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls TBD TBD


No. 6 Brooklyn Nets Will Down No. 3 Toronto Raptors

Kathy Kmonicek

Did the Brooklyn Nets tank to end the season and get a matchup with Toronto?

It's certainly within the realm of possibility. The Nets lost four of five to close the season, and Jason Kidd let his starters rest in a 29-point loss to Cleveland.

The Raptors and coach Dwane Casey took the apparent disrespect in stride, per Lori Ewing of the Canadian Press:

"It would tick me off if that was the case. ... If they did, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for," Casey said. "For us, we were going to take whoever came to us, whether it was Brooklyn or Washington or Charlotte. We were prepared for all three teams."

On the court, DeMar DeRozan feels his team has an advantage, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

Here's the problem: Experience does trump youthful energy in the playoffs. The two sides split the regular-season series at two games apiece with three of the four decided by four points or fewer, but Brooklyn is built for the playoffs.

The Nets flipped the postseason switch at the start of the calendar year and have since posted the second-best winning percentage in the East. They have Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce, the latter of which has played at the 4 and has given teams—including the Raptors (15 points in a 101-97 win in their last meeting)—absolute fits.

Prediction: Nets in seven


No. 5 Wizards Slip Past No. 4 Bulls

It's easy to just point out that the Chicago Bulls rank No. 1 in total defense and call it a day.

That would be a huge mistake.

John Wall and Bradley Beal lack playoff experience, but Washington won the regular-season series 2-1 for a reason. In fact, the Wizards rank better than the Bulls in most offensive categories:

FG percentage.459.432
FT percentage.731.779
3P percentage.380.348

Chicago undoubtedly touts a suffocating defense, but the Wizards can score on the outside and inside efficiently thanks to Nene and Marcin Gortat. The latter scored 19 and 13 points respectively in the first two meetings with the Bulls, while Nene posted 10 and 19 in the final two matchups.

Wall? Over the course of all three games he averaged 20 points and eight assists—on 50 percent shooting from the field.

Flip the script. Who will do the scoring for the Bulls and their 30th-ranked offense? The Bulls don't have that lights-out shooter to trust in the clutch, as D.J. Augustin leads the team with 14.9 points per game.

For the Chicago defenders in this matchup, just understand that the victory in the third meeting during the season was a result of Washington simply not hitting shots, as Wall and Co. shot 39.5 percent from the field, 18.8 from behind the arc and 58.3 from the line. That won't consistently occur in a seven-game series. 

Prediction: Wizards in seven


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