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

4 of 5


Feb 20, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) drives the ball to the basket during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Thunder 122-119. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder over (8) Houston Rockets in 5

James Harden will be amped to take it to the number one seeded Thunder, but ultimately since he is the only one with any meaningful experience in the playoffs (Omer Asik is the only other starter with any at all since Jeremy Lin missed the playoffs last year with NY), the Rockets will lack the late game heroics to match the Thunder in any closely contested games.

Giving them one game is based on the fact that Harden, the league’s fifth leading scorer, will find a way to go nuts and put up 40+.

(2) San Antonio Spurs over (7) L.A. Lakers in 5

Apr 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 91-86. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sans Kobe, the Lakers have to be feeling pretty confused about what this year’s playoffs mean to them.

Drawing a team with San Antonio’s experience won’t help at all. Dwight Howard also will find life tough with Tim Duncan directing the interior defense and making sure he is fouled when necessary, in addition to limiting his patented moves. By “moves” I basically mean his only two: a baseline “baby” hook and and his most used sweeping hook across the lane.

Duncan will help the Spurs other interior defenders cut these moves off and force Dwight into difficult and contested shots, often out of his narrow comfort range.