NBA 2012-2013 Western Conference Playoff Matchup Predictions

Updated: April 2, 2013
NBA 2013



First Round:


San Antonio Spurs (1) vs Los Angeles Lakers (8)

The San Antonio Spurs may lack the size to match up with Dwight Howard, but don’t discount Tim Duncan’s veteran smarts and sound fundamentals. Manu Ginobili provides reliable scoring and playmaking, while Tony Parker’s point guard skills are at an elite level. Sound veteran team all-around.
The superstar-laden Lakers have been totally underwhelming. Coaching changes and chemistry issues plagued the team all throughout the season. Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash seem to have learned to work together, but it may be too little, too late to carry them deep into the Playoffs.
Prediction: San Antonio in 5

Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs Houston Rockets (7)

OKC boasts of two top-tier NBA talents in the form of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Both are deadly scorers and uncanny athletes, leading them to the 2012 Finals. However, the trade of James Harden to Houston in the offseason reduced the Thunder’s bench output—a vital component of a 7-game series.
For a team that’s in the midst of rebuilding with the youngest roster in the NBA (average age: 23.9), the Rockets are performing really well. With all-star guard Harden at the helm plus great backup from Jeremy Lin, they have overcome expectations by staying relevant in the playoff race.
Prediction: OKC in 6

Denver Nuggets (3) vs Golden State Warriors (6)

The Nuggets posted an impressive 15-game winning streak this season playing exceptional team basketball without any real big-name stars. The team’s deep bench and athletic style of play can be hard to overcome, especially on their high-altitude homecourt.
As shown by Stephen Curry’s 54-point performance against the Knicks ending with a loss, the Warriors seem to rely on their top players too much. If Curry gets shut down or of his shots don’t fall, then it will be tough for GSW.
Prediction: Denver in 5

Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5)

All-star combo Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are expected to carry the Clippers’ game, but they can also rely on DeAndre Jordan for inside presence. LAC is known for their flashy, high-flying offense and excellent passing, a stark contrast to their first-round foes.
It can be said that the Memphis Grizzlies are the opposite of the Clippers in terms of basketball philosophy. The Grizzlies practice a gritty, defensive style that ranks second in the NBA for holding down opponents’ score.  Expect Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to clamp down on the opposition.
Prediction: Memphis in 6

Second Round:

San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies
These two teams have met in the first round of the 2010-2011 Playoffs, with the Grizzlies (then eighth seed) knocking out first seed Spurs in an upset. The Grizzlies can and will give the Spurs a hard time, and may be able to pull off another upset in the second round.
Prediction: Memphis in 7

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets

This is another battle of opposites, with Oklahoma’s star power contrasting with Denver’s more even share of contributions. Some of the Nuggets’ players such as Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee can potentially match up with the Thunder’s athleticism, but they’re relatively new and untested compared to the Durant-Westbrook one-two punch.
Prediction: OKC in 5

Western Conference Finals:

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies

There’s a saying that “Defense wins championships.” The Thunder’s defense is 12th in the league, but they hold the highest points scored versus opponent’s points differential at +9.1. This means that Memphis may try to hold down OKC’s points, but can their own offense generate enough points to overcome the Thunder’s impressive one?
Prediction: Oklahoma City in 6, second consecutive NBA Finals appearance