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Bob Haynie: Time For Big Boy Basketball–The NBA Playoffs

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Carmelo Anthony v. Celtics (credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony v. Celtics (credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

After an exhausting 82-game regular season, the National Basketball Association begins it’s annual guantlet to determine the World Champions.

The Miami Heat are the reinging kings of the court, having defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Finals. With a league-best 66 victories during the 2012-13 campaign, the Heat are the favorites to repeat.

With all due respect to the Pacers and Knicks, Miami’s main competition for the crown will probably come from the Western Conference.

Since the playoffs last two months, we have plenty of time to debate the merits of each team. However, it is time for some first-round predictions.

The playoffs began over this past weekend, but nothing happened that had any sort of bearing on my picks which were already sealed in a mayonnaise jar.

EAST:

(1) Heat vs. (8) Bucks: The Heat are the defending champs and the Bucks are the only team in the postseason with a losing record. Enough said…Heat in 4

(2) Knicks vs. (7) Celtics: The Knicks used their defense to pull out a victory in game one. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith will provide enough offense for the series…Knicks in 5

(3) Pacers vs. Hawks (6): The Pacers have played most of the season without Danny Granger. So they’ve adjusted. There is enough here to get past the pesky Hawks…Pacers in 6

(4) Nets vs. (5) Bulls: Derrick Rose will not return for Chicago and Joakim Noah is banged up. The Nets look too strong in this matchup…Nets in 5

WEST:

(1) Thunder vs. (8) Rockets: Yes, James Harden would love to beat his old mates. He can’t do it by himself. You’d have to be Linsane to pick against OKC…Thunder in 5

(2) Spurs vs. Lakers: Magic Johnson said these two teams were evenly matched. Gee. Biased much? No Kobe. No chance…Spurs in 5

(3) Nuggets vs. (6) Warriors: For the record, I was picking Denver before David Lee injured his hip. He is done for the season which, obviously, doesn’t help Golden State…Nuggets in 6

(4) Clippers vs. (5) Grizzlies: Even though the Clips rolled in game one, this looks like the toughest series on paper. In the end, Chris Paul will be the difference…Clippers in 7

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