2014 NBA Playoffs Preview: 1-8 Match Up

The 2014 NBA Playoffs are going to get going in just a few days and a quick glance at the match-ups promises some exciting basketball over the next couple of months. As I’ve been doing for the last few years, I’m going to go ahead and do a short preview of each series and predict who I think is going to win the series. I’m going to go down the series by match-ups, previewing each conferences’ match-up one-by-one.

Eastern Conference
INDIANA PACERS (1) vs. ATLANTA HAWKS (8)

Regular Season Series: Tied 2-2 (both teams split at home)

This is a surprisingly tough series to predict. Indiana looked like the cream of the crop for the first half of the season and then everything seemed to fall apart. Despite this, Indiana managed to snag the top seed in the East, though that was mainly because the Heat didn’t really appear to care. Interestingly, this is also the same first-round match-up from last year’s NBA Playoffs, though in that case it was a 3-6 match-up.

The Pacers may finally have gotten back on track but the Hawks have a team that can be dangerous. They have a bunch of second-tier role players, in my opinion, and I think the Pacers probably have the 3 best players in this series (David West, Lance Stephenson and Paul George). I think the series will be closer than the scoreline suggests, but the Pacers will manage to hold on. I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a dump and get knocked out, though.

PREDICTION: Pacers win in 5 (4-1)

Western Conference
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (1) vs. DALLAS MAVERICKS (8)

Regular Season Series: Spurs won 4-0

It’s that time of the year again when everyone has forgotten about the Spurs and is talking about the Thunder, Heat, Pacers and Clippers as serious contenders. Really? The Spurs just put in another 60-win season and have guaranteed home-court advantage for as long as they last in the playoffs. The Mavericks get to face the Spurs on the virtue of losing to Memphis in the last day of regular season. I honestly think both teams should have come to an understanding before the game and let the Mavs win because I think both teams would have a better match-up. I think Memphis matches up better with the Spurs and the Mavericks would have a shot against the Spurs. Anyways, no point mulling over hypotheticals.

San Antonio dominated the regular season series, winning all games somewhat comfortably. Dallas, in my opinion, overperformed this season because Monta Ellis finally became slightly more efficient and their role players outperformed expectations. I don’t think they have near enough to get around the Spurs, though. As a result of the dominating season, the Spurs have once again managed to rest their key pieces liberally and are entering the playoffs scorching hot (even though they are on a 2-game losing streak resting most of their important players). They got and integrated Kawhi Leonard back from injury at the ideal time and even allowed him to rest for the last couple of games.

I think there’s a high probability that the Spurs bring out the brooms in this series, but I’m willing to bet that Dirk will have at least one of those ridiculous games where everything goes in, regardless of how silly it looks. So I’ll give them a split at home.

PREDICTION: Spurs win in 5 (4-1)

So there you have it. I’m expecting the top seeds to take care of business fairly easily, although I’m way more confident about the Spurs than the Pacers. Next up I’ll preview the 2-7 match-up!

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