2014 NBA PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: ROUND 1

April 18, 2014

It's that time again - NBA Playoff time! This season, the Bobcats have been invited to the party after a phenomenal season in Charlotte. Now it's time to see what our "experts" think. As we've done the past handful of years, we've gone to Bobcats TV Play-by-Play Announcer Steve Martin, Bobcats Radio Broadcaster Scott Lauer and bobcats.com's Director of Interactive Media Matt Rochinski to get their take on the playoffs but are also inviting Bobcats Social Media Coordinator Eryn Gradwell and one of our interns, Jace Darling, to showcase their prognosticating prowess. Who will take it all? We'll see. On to the predictions...

2013-14 Game Recaps
Martin: Pacers taken to the limit but should win. Indiana in 7
Lauer: I'm not sleeping on the Pacers, despite a mediocre finish.  The Pacers are too physical for a Hawks team without Al Horford. Indiana in 5
Gradwell: Another first round sweep I see going down with Al Horford not being around for Atlanta. Indiana in 4
Darling: Although playing poor team basketball late Indiana wraps this in 6... And I hate all things Atlanta sports
Rochinski: Indiana was the league's best team for about 80 percent of the NBA season. Then the wheels started to come off. They're not going to lose them completely… yet. Indiana in 6

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Bobcats stun the Heat in Game 1 and take the series. No, I haven't been drinking....yet. Charlotte in 6
Lauer: I can hope, right?? Charlotte in 7
Gradwell: Cats are going to put up a vicious fight and have enough in them to defeat the Heat in a game, but the two-time champs and arguably the best player in the league won't let them win the series. Miami in 5
Darling: Homer pick all the way..  Why not? Its Our Time! Charlotte in 7
Rochinski: The Cats have taken a huge step this season. Al Jefferson is a beast and Kemba Walker is coming into his own. Now its time for the franchise's first playoff win(s)! This is the next step for a team on the rise. But taking out the two-time defending champs in a Game 7 on their home court will be too much to ask. Miami in 7

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Nets were built for this. Brooklyn in 5
Lauer: The Raptors have quietly been a highly consistent team since trading Rudy Gay.  I like how Lowry and DeRozan mathup with Williams and Livingston. Toronto in 7
Gradwell: Toronto is such a young team that doesn't have as much playing experience as the Nets. I think it'll be a tough series but Nets will pull through. Brooklyn in 6
Darling: Too much veteran leadership, these players have been here a lot and Jason Kidd has them playing well. Brooklyn in 6
Rochinski: Aside from the Bobcats, the Raptors might be getting the least amount of respect in the NBA playoffs. There's good reason for it, as their young guns won't be able to knock off the more experienced Nets squad. Brooklyn in 6

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: You can't take time off against Bulls, but this has the potential to be the best series in the East. Chicago in 6
Lauer: The Bulls are the best defensive team in the league.  There will be some time in every game where the Wizards relax, and you can't in the playoffs. Chicago in 5
Gradwell: I can't stand Joakim Noah, but it's only because he's a monster in the paint and he's near impossible to guard.  And with their no. 1 ranked defense, the Wizards won't be able to put up enough points in each game to win the series. Chicago in 5
Darling: This series will be a battle but defense wins championships.. advantage Thibideau... Chicago in 7
Rochinski: Defense rules the day. Chicago in 7

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Spurs in a sweep...Mavs will chase their three point shooters all night. San Antonio in 4
Lauer: The Spurs won a league-best 62 games, and had a 19-game winning streak broken just two weeks ago.  Sorry Dirk. San Antonio in 6
Gradwell: San Antonio is a power house but it won't be finished in four games. San Antonio in 7
Darling: My childhood team and one of the best coached teams in the league. San Antonio in 6
Rochinski: The Spurs are just too good. San Antonio in 5

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Grizzlies in an upset...I like Memphis. Well rounded, played well late. Memphis in 6
Lauer: The playoffs are about matchups, and as I much as I love the Thunder, this is a nasty opponent in the Grizzlies.  Don't expect Durant to go off against Tony Allen all the time. Oklahoma City in 7
Gradwell: The Durantula will just be too much for the Grizz. That guy is a beast. Oklahoma City in 5
Darling: OKC is really good behind Durant but Memphis has been clawing lately and take it the distance. Oklahoma City in 7
Rochinski: This year has been K.D.'s time to shine. This star is burning bright for now. Oklahoma City in 6

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Bogut's loss leaves Lee alone to do the dirty work. Los Angeles in 7
Lauer: As much as I adore Steph Curry, without Andrew Bogut, they have little chance to defend and rebound with Griffin and Jordan. Los Angeles in 5
Gradwell: It'll be a great rivalry but with the without Andrew Bogut, the Warriors stand little chance against Chris Paul. Los Angeles in 6
Darling: As good as Steph is, CP3 and Griffin are too good. Los Angeles in 6
Rochinski: Time for me to take my upset. No Bogut only makes the Warriors faster! Warriors might be most exciting offensive team to watch in these playoffs. Golden State in 6

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Harden/Howard too much for Lillard/Aldridge. Houston in 5
Lauer: Here's my surprise; I'm not sold on the Rockets ability to defend, and the Blazers have recaptured some energy that propelled them early in the season. Portland in 7
Gradwell: Clean sweep. Houston in 4
Darling: It feels like it may be Portland's year to make a run. Portland in 7
Rochinski: Houston's No. 4 finish in the West was a little bit disappointing for Dwight, Harden and the Rockets. They'll play better than their seed here. Houston in 5