The 2013 NBA Playoffs are here and USSDU is previewing the games that will be on ESPN in week one.[caption id="attachment_15677" align="aligncenter" width="534"] Photo Credit: Debby Wong, USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
BROOKLYN NETS VS CHICAGO BULLSTime and Date: Sunday 21st of April from The Barclays Center Coverage: LIVE at 10:00am AEDT The regular season has finished and the wait is over. Now is the time to let basketball do the talking as Chicago and Brooklyn kick off the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Barclays Center. Now it's time for this superstar laden group to show the city of New York who's boss. With the up and down season the Nets have had that involved coach turnover, multiple starting line-ups and shooting troubles with superstar point guard Deron Williams, they've done extremely well to finish with home court advantage. Chicago on the other hand will be on the back foot trying to force this series into a defensive grind in order to get the advantage. They have struggled throughout the season with a range of injuries to key players: Joakim Noah with placer fasciitis, Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton with every injury imaginable and lest we forget Derrick Rose. This has taken it's toll on the former Eastern Conference powerhouse. Their only hope is in the famous suffocating defense of Tom Thibodeau, but even that might not be enough to save them from being first-round losers. Watch For: Deron Williams. He has his shot working and he could explode for 20 and 10 every night. This is his time to shine and if he rises to the challenge the Nets will be in control.
NEW YORK KNICKS VS BOSTON CELTICSTime and Date: Wednesday 24th of April from Madison Square Garden Coverage: LIVE at 10:00am AEDT This is the series that looks to be the most interesting in the East as two historical heavyweights battle each other on the hard-court for basketball glory. Any playoff game at MSG is a spectacle and this Knicks team will be looking to make an impact early on to show the NBA they are the real deal. New York under Mike Woodson have shown this season that they are capable of challenging for the Eastern Conference Title, but the regular season is one thing. This is the playoffs now and the Knicks need to put together a flawless first round to prove the doubters wrong. To do this they need their stars to ignite. Carmelo Anthony has been one of the NBA's most efficient scorers in the last part of the season and will look to put this team on his back with a series of 30+ scoring efforts. What isn't working in his favor is the way Boston frustrated him to no end during the regular season. The Celtics will be looking to maintain an advantage by attempting to shut Melo down and limit his scoring. Doc Rivers will be working his magic from the sidelines and the perennial pest in Avery Bradley will be a hound on defense for this banged up Celtics team. Watch For: The Boston Veterans. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been nursing injuries all season and will come into the playoffs slightly under 100%. If they catch fire then the Celtics are in with a chance, but If not then it could be over quickly.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS SAN ANTONIO SPURSTime and Date: Saturday 27th of April from the Staples Center Coverage: LIVE at 12:30pm AEDT The Lakers have made the playoffs on the back of a suicidal effort by Kobe Bryant and the late season surge of Pau Gasol, but what do they have left to offer? By the time this game three comes along we will know if the Lakers are serious threats or tired pretenders that lack the depth and defense for the playoffs. Lets hope it's the other way round because this series has the potential to be a seven game thriller. In the final two games of the season the Lakers proved that they could work without Kobe Bryant through the great play of Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Blake. Everyone has stepped up their game a notch and missing Kobe might actually be a blessing in disguise. They clearly have an advantage with Gasol controlling the offense from the elbow and Howard banging down low. However it's the role players that have stepped up knowing they have a much bigger role to play post-Kobe. It will be interesting to see how Mike D'Antoni and his group of survivors manage a battle against the hardened group of San Antonio warriors. The Spurs have been in this situation before; banged up, stars being rested and a finish to the season that looks like their reign is over. Playing possum, they are ready to strike at any time and we could be in for a vintage Spurs playoffs run. Tim Duncan has been a beast this season, proving that playing 30 minutes a night can't stop you from putting up crazy numbers. Tony Parker has been an energetic Jack Russell in almost every game he's played. If the Spurs play classic Coach Pop ball then they should fair well in the series. Watch For: Manu Ginobili. They really need him to fire if they are to out-gun the Lakers second unit. After playing only nine minutes (Last Thursday) in his last 10 games he will be unpredictable.
Got a favorite series that you are looking forward to? Post your comments in the section below.