I admit it. I threw down the gauntlet to Bobcats Television Announcer Steve Martin, Radio Broadcaster Scott Lauer and former Cats intern and Rufus of Fire Editor Ben Swanson at the start of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Congrats to all three of them for going unfazed and happily accepting my challenge. After round one, Swanson leads the way, having hit on six of the first eight series, followed by Martin and Lauer with five correct selections. I got off to a good start, correctly selecting three of the four series in the East, but I was clueless in the West and finished with four total series wins. It’s time to make up some ground, so on to round two.

EASTERN CONFERENCE


No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls

Martin: Final series to get set in the second round will likely be the first one done. If there ever was a time to find Derrick Rose's muscle memory this is it, otherwise the MVP and his pals take down the Bulls fast.
Prediction: Heat sweep

Lauer: Merely winning one game would be a compliment to Chicago's defensive intensity and their coaching. Derrick Rose and Luol Deng are out for game one...maybe longer of course, which doesn't bode well against the best. The Heat is rested, the Bulls are not.
Prediction: Heat in five

Swanson: They may have as much heart as any team in the league, but the achy-breaky Bulls just don't have enough talent to win a seven-game series against LeBron and co.
Prediction: Heat in five

Rochinski: Miami looked good in opening round, while the Bulls needed a gutsy performance in Game 7 in Brooklyn to advance. Can’t question Chicago’s heart led by Nate Robinson, but it just won’t be enough to beat the Heat.
Prediction: Heat in five

 


No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 3 Indiana Pacers

Martin: Old school..revisited. Paul George plays Reggie Miller and J.R. Smith plays John Starks. Destiny selects this one.
Prediction: Knicks in seven

Lauer: The Pacers are the best rebounding team in the league, and the Knicks are a jump shooting team. There are few second-shot opportunities for New York. Paul George can shut down Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.
Prediction: Pacers in six

Swanson: I don't like this matchup for the Knicks. Indiana has a great defense led by Roy Hibbert in the frontcourt and Paul George on the wing. And it's certainly no good sign for Knicks fans that New York's offense has been inconsistent lately.
Prediction: Pacers in seven

Rochinski: I said last round that I loved the makeup of the Pacers, and that the Indiana mold is one the Cats should be casting along with the likes of the Thunder. Pacers are solid inside and out, and Carmelo just doesn’t seem to have his groove this postseason. If he doesn’t find this, Indy will advance.
Prediction: Pacers in six

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE


No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

Martin: Defense wins in the NBA Playoffs and nobody defends better than the Grizzlies. This bandwagon is getting heavy.
Prediction: Grizzlies in six

Lauer: Kevin Durant can enhance his young legacy by guiding the Thunder to the finals without Russell Westbrook. Beating a nasty defensive team in the Grizzlies won't be easy, but I don't bet against greatness.
Prediction: Thunder in seven

Swanson: After losing Russell Westbrook, I thought Oklahoma City would still have the offensive firepower and defensive fundamentals to wipe out Houston with ease, but that wasn’t the case. Memphis has a terrific defense inside and out, and their offense is built around solid ball movement.
Prediction: Grizzlies in seven

Rochinski: : I thought not having Rudy Gay in the playoffs would cost the Grizzlies and leave them without a true closer. They showed in the first round they don’t need a closer as they rolled over the Clippers in four-straight games. Memphis will just be too much for OKC and Durant without Westbrook.
Prediction: Grizzlies in six

 


No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors

Martin: Papa Curry says Warriors aren't content with winning the first round. But these are the Spurs we're talking about.
Prediction: Spurs in six

Lauer: As much as I want to choose Golden State, the Spurs continue to postpone their active community eligibility... somehow. Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard will work Steph Curry when they're guarding him. I'll take the vets against the up-and-comers.
Prediction: Spurs in seven

Swanson:The narrative here will clearly be old vs young, and I'm going to give the edge to San Antonio. Smooth offense and good defense combined with depth, experience and a hall of fame coach is enough to woo me over the young guns led by Charlotte's homegrown dynamo.
Prediction: Spurs in six

Rochinski: Somebody’s got to do it. Maybe Warriors are a team of destiny. Maybe not. But man, they’re fun to watch.
Prediction: Warriors in six

 


2013 Playoff Predictions: 1st Round