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2013 NBA Playoffs First Round — Eastern Conference Preview & Schedule

NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference
Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

The first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs start Saturday and Sunday, as 16 teams vie to become the 2013 NBA champions. The Miami Heat are strong favorites to represent the Eastern Conference, as well as repeat as NBA champions. Here’s a preview of the 2013 NBA playoffs’ first round match-ups in the Eastern Conference

All series are best-of-seven.
* — if necessary

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks


The defending NBA champion Miami Heat (66-16) were the best team in the NBA this season. They defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (38-44) in three of their four meetings. Superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade should be enough to push the Heat past the Bucks, however Milwaukee center Larry Sanders and point guard Brandon Jennings are both talented enough to make Miami work for the wins.

Game 1 in Miami: Sunday, April 21, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 in Miami: Tuesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m., NBATV
Game 3 in Milwaukee: Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 in Milwaukee: Sunday, April 28, 3:30 p.m., ABC
*Game 5 in Miami: Tuesday, April 30
*Game 6 in Milwaukee: Thursday, May 2
*Game 7 in Miami: Saturday, May 4


No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics


After starting the 2013 NBA season on a hot streak, the New York Knicks (54-28) faltered in the middle of the campaign before closing on an upswing. NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony and swingman J.R. Smith give the Knicks scoring punch, while center Tyson Chandler handles the defense. The Boston Celtics (41-40) are a veteran team that found a way to stay afloat after the injury to Rajon Rondo and the departure of Ray Allen. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are too good for the Celtics to be dispatched easily. New York won the season series between the teams, 3-1.

Game 1 in New York: Saturday, April 20, 3 p.m., ABC
Game 2 in New York: Tuesday, April 23, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 in Boston: Friday, April 26, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 in Boston: Sunday, April 28, 1 p.m., ABC (regional)
*Game 5 in New York: Wednesday, May 1
*Game 6 in Boston: Friday, May 3
*Game 7 in New York: Sunday, May 5


No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks


The third-seeded Indiana Pacers (49-32) were the Central Division champions, but they still drew the Atlanta Hawks (44-38), a team that was nearly their equal during the regular season (the teams split their meetings, 2-2). The Pacers play incredible defense with center Roy Hibbert and forward David West often dominating the front court. Atlanta’s key players are forward Josh Smith and center Al Horford.

Game 1 in Indianapolis: Sunday, April 21, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 in Indianapolis: Wednesday, April 24, 7:30 p.m., NBATV
Game 3 in Atlanta: Saturday, April 27, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 in Atlanta: Monday, April 29
*Game 5 in Indianapolis: Wednesday, May 1
*Game 6 in Atlanta: Friday, May 3
*Game 7 in Indianapolis: Sunday, May 5


No. 4 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls


The Brooklyn Nets (49-33) were able to secure home court advantage for the first round of the NBA playoffs in their first year in the Barclays Center. It may come in handy against the Chicago Bulls (45-37), who defeated the Nets in three of the teams’ four games in 2012-13. Point guard Deron Williams is the key to the Brooklyn attack, while Chicago counters with a deep front court of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. Noah is expected to miss Game 1 with a foot injury.

Game 1 in New York: Saturday, April 20, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 in New York: Monday, April 22, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 in Chicago: Thursday, April 25, 8:30 p.m., NBATV
Game 4 in Chicago: Saturday, April 27, 2 p.m., TNT
*Game 5 in New York: Monday, April 29
*Game 6 in Chicago: Thursday, May 2
*Game 7 in New York: Saturday, May 4


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