Presto’s Complete 2013 NBA Playoffs First Round Predictions And Series Previews

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Feb 5, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) tries to steal the ball away from Atlanta Hawks guard John Jenkins (12) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Atlanta 114-103. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Indiana Pacers over (6) Atlanta Hawks in 6

The fact that the Pacers were 32-9 at home and have arguably the league’s best and stingiest defense, in addition to the fact that the Hawks never seem to have what it takes to do more than sometimes get out of the first round, Frank Vogel’s Pacers should handle this one just fine.

Six games is more of a max; it could very well be a sweep or 5-game series.

(5) Chicago Bulls over (4) Brooklyn Nets in 6

It would be too hard to go against a Tom Thibodeau coached squad in a playoff series against a fairly evenly matched opponent, even without Derrick Rose out there to generate offense when the role players go cold.

The Nets have a great starting five, too, but their second unit will have trouble with Nate Robinson and the other Bulls aggressive pushing the pace and picking up right where the starting Bulls left off.

Mar 2, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah’s health and recovery should be a priority for Thibbs, though, and limiting their minutes is nearly as important as securing the game well ahead of the buzzer.