Brooklyn Nets 2013 Playoff Preview
Added by Matthew Hochberg on April 18, 2013.
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
The NBA’s 2012 – 2013 regular season is officially in the books. With that, the 16 playoff-bound teams can finally begin to solely focus on their first-round playoff matchups. The Brooklyn Nets (49-33) secured the number 4 seed in the Eastern Conference a few days ago already, but did not find out until Wednesday night who they would face in the Conference Quarterfinals. With the Chicago Bulls’ (45-37) win over the Washington Wizards, and the Atlanta Hawks’ loss to the Knicks, the Bulls locked up the number 5 seed and are set to travel to Brooklyn for Game 1 on Saturday evening.
Now, the one lingering question heading into this series is: will he or won’t he? Of course, that is referring to Chicago’s superstar point guard, Derrick Rose. Rose, considered by most to be a top 5 NBA player, has been out this whole season due to a suffered torn ACL in last season’s playoffs. However, he was cleared to play over a month ago but still has not made his way back to the court. Some speculate that he will make his return during these playoffs, but no one knows for sure.
While this may be the first Nets playoff appearance in the past five years, this is the first time playoff basketball has been brought to Brooklyn since 1956. This matchup will be competitive from start to finish, and a series that I believe will go seven games. For the Nets, Deron Williams will be the best player on the floor for either team (barring no return of Rose) and have the pieces, such as center Brook Lopez and shooting guard Joe Johnson to win it. On the other side, however, the Bulls have one of the best coaches in the NBA in Tom Thibodeau, and a solid all-around team, which includes small forward Loul Deng, center Joakim Noah and power forward Carlos Boozer.
If Williams can remain hot on the offensive side of the ball and continue to get production out of Lopez, Johnson and some of the role players such as Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks, they have a great shot at advancing to the Conference Semifinals. If they begin to falter, it will be because of the Bulls’ resilience and extremely tough defense.
While I do think the series will be very competitive and a very fun, compelling one to watch, I believe the Nets take it in seven games and advance to the second round. While the Bulls have shown signs of brilliance on defense and decent (at times) offense, they have just been playing too mediocre of late and without Derrick Rose, can’t put up with Brooklyn’s balanced attack on offense and consistent-enough defense. The Nets win the series, 4-3. Their reward? A clash with the 66-16 Miami Heat. Good Luck with that, Brooklyn…