15 Bold Predictions for the 2014 NBA Playoffs

By Nick Villano

NBA Playoffs

15 Bold Predictions for the 2014 NBA Playoffs
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After going through roughly five months of action and 1,230 games, the NBA Playoffs are finally set. Wednesday night's games finalized the seeding and we see some intriguing first-round matchups. Looking forward shows that this could be a great year of playoff basketball. As with all great years, some craziness occurs. These are 15 bold predictions for the 2014 playoffs.

15. Roy Hibbert Will Be Looked At Less Fondly After The Postseason

Roy Hibbert Indiana Pacers
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15. Roy Hibbert Will Be Looked At Less Fondly After The Postseason

Roy Hibbert Indiana Pacers
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Roy Hibbert came out of last year's playoffs looking like the most dominant center in the league, but this year will do the opposite for him. Especially if he has a second round matchup with the Joakim Noah and the Bulls where he may look a lot worse than in years past. He has scored ten or more in one of the last five games. I think teams will look to get him into foul trouble quickly.

14. Miami Will Sweep Their Way To The Eastern Conference Finals

Lebron James Miami Heat
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14. Miami Will Sweep Their Way To The Eastern Conference Finals

Lebron James Miami Heat
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The current matchup that the Miami Heat have in the first round is against the Charlotte Bobcats, and they are just happy to be in the postseason. They have a nice crop of players but nobody who can compete with the Heat. Then they will also sweep the next team they face (who you can calculate later based on other picks). They will be going into the Eastern Conference Finals without a loss in the playoffs.

13. Tim Duncan Will Finally Show His Age

Tim Duncan Will Finally Show His Age
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13. Tim Duncan Will Finally Show His Age

Tim Duncan Will Finally Show His Age
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The ageless wonder Tim Duncan looked like he was 25 years old last season when he averaged 17.8 points per game. This season, he dropped more than two points per game and almost a full block. When I say "show his age," I mean that in relation to Duncan. He will still be very good.

12. Dwight Howard Will Have A 40-Point, 20-Rebound Game

Dwight Howard Houston Rockets
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12. Dwight Howard Will Have A 40-Point, 20-Rebound Game

Dwight Howard Houston Rockets
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There will be a game that Dwight Howard absolutely dominates. He will play some bad defenses (cough, cough Portland), and he knows how to take advantage of them. He is open often thanks to the double teams that James Harden gets. He will have a game where he gets 20 rebounds and puts at least half of them back for points.

11. Golden State Warriors Will Go Down Quietly

Golden State Warriors Will Go Down Quietly
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11. Golden State Warriors Will Go Down Quietly

Golden State Warriors Will Go Down Quietly
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Last year, Golden State and Stephen Curry were the surprise team in the Western Conference, winning their round one series against the Denver Nuggets. They came into the series with the Spurs like they belonged and even had some people believing they could make the upset. The Warriors are playing the Clippers, who are basically a much better version of themselves. This series will unfortunately not be very exciting.

10. Chicago Bulls Will Make The Eastern Conference Finals

Chicago Bulls
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10. Chicago Bulls Will Make The Eastern Conference Finals

Chicago Bulls Will Make The Eastern Conference Finals
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The Chicago Bulls are everyone's favorite sleeper team, and there is good reason for that. They have experience and coaching on their side. They have a good matchup with the Indiana Pacers, who they will play if they get beyond the first round. They will then face their old nemesis in the Miami Heat.

9. Damian Lillard Will Be This Year's Stephen Curry

Damian Lillard
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9. Damian Lillard Will Be This Year's Stephen Curry

Damian Lillard Will Be This Year's Stephen Curry
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Last year Stephen Curry became a superstar when he carried his Warrior team through a huge series with the Spurs. This year Damian Lillard will have a huge playoff series against the Rockets. If they win, then he will be put on the map when he tries to carry his Blazers team to a surprising Western Conference Finals berth.

8. Kevin Durant or LeBron James Will Not Be Best Player In Playoffs

Kevin Durant Lebron James
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8. Kevin Durant or LeBron James Will Not Be Best Player In Playoffs

Kevin Durant; Lebron James Will Not Be Best Player In Playoffs
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It seems every year that the players who are considered the best aren't always the best in the postseason. You can look at Dirk Nowitzki from three years ago as a perfect example. This is going to happen again this season with how everything works out. Look at Blake Griffin to be a possible candidate for this honor.

7. HOU-POR Series Will Average 250 PPG

HOU-POR Series Will Average 250 PPG
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7. HOU-POR Series Will Average 250 PPG

HOU-POR Series Will Average 250 PPG
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What happens when you put two high scoring teams that don't necessarily play great defense in a series together? You get a ton of points. These two teams allow more points than any other playoff team in the league, yet they are both over plus-four on the season. This will be exciting based on crazy point totals alone.

6. A Major Point Guard Will Get Hurt

John Wall
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6. A Major Point Guard Will Get Hurt

John Wall
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It seems every year a superstar point guard goes down with a major injury. This year will be no different. It's not based on much, but something draws me to John Wall. It seems like he is always one wrong move away from busting a knee. I hope I'm wrong, but it seems destined for somebody.

5. The Clippers Will Win The West

The Clippers Will Win The West
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5. The Clippers Will Win The West

The Clippers Will Win The West
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Thanks to some early-round exits by contenders, the Los Angeles Clippers will win the West. They have such a deep team that they aren't reliant on their superstars. They have great outside shooting to go along with their underneath presence. Put it together with Doc Rivers as coach and you have a team that can lift the championship at the end of the year.

4. The Raptors Will Beat The Nets

Toronto Raptors Brooklyn Nets
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4. The Raptors Will Beat The Nets

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets
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The Raptors have played the Nets tough all season as they split the season series. The Raptors are a lot better than they are given credit for. Kyle Lowry has been very good all season, and DeMar DeRozan has been a scoring machine. The Nets may not have the speed to keep up with the up-and-down game that the Raptors use. There are six players who score in the double digits on a nightly basis. It will be a fight, but Toronto will win.

3. A Bottom Four Seed Will Play In The WCF

A Bottom Four Seed Will Play In The WCF
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3. A Bottom Four Seed Will Play In The WCF

A Bottom Four Seed Will Play In The WCF
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I already told you one of the spots in the Western Conference Finals would be the L.A. Clippers. The team they beat will make a few upsets on the way. The bottom half of the West is much better than normal years. The Dallas Mavericks could make a run and it wouldn't surprise many.

2. The Atlanta Hawks Will Win A Game

The Atlanta Hawks Will Win A Game
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2. The Atlanta Hawks Will Win A Game

The Atlanta Hawks Will Win A Game
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They are the No. 8 seed in the East, and they should get slaughtered. But they will actually find a way to win one game against the Pacers.

1. The Mavericks Will Bring The Spurs To 7

The Mavericks Will Bring The Spurs To Seven
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1. The Mavericks Will Bring The Spurs To 7

The Mavericks Will Bring The Spurs To Seven
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The Dallas Mavericks are one of the best No. 8 seeds in recent memory. The Spurs have lost to an No. 8 seed before. Expect to see some to watch as their finals pick fights in a must-win in the first round.

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