The 2012 NBA Playoff schedule kicked off with a bang on Saturday. Unfortunately, that bang came in the form of ACL tears to Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert. What a blow for the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks (although the Knicks never had a chance anyway).
The second half of the playoff slate gets underway with Sunday's schedule. On Saturday we got three Eastern Conference games and one from the West so of course on Sunday that will be flipped. Here's the TV schedule and our predictions for the series (which don't ever assume major injuries).
Utah Jazz (8) Vs. San Antonio Spurs (1)
TV Schedule: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT on ESPN
The young Jazz will have their hands full with the deep, powerful and rested Spurs. The series could be tough for San Antonio as their biggest weakness, lack of size up front, matches up poorly to the Jazz impressive set of bigs. In the end, however, the Spurs execution on both ends will be too much for Utah.
Prediction: Spurs in five
Denver Nuggets (7) Vs. Los Angeles Lakers (3)
TV Schedule: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC
This series could get interesting with Denver's speed and talent on the wings against Kobe and the two bigs in the middle. The Lakers should be able to take care of business if they stay focused on take advantage of their size in the middle. Of course, the Lakers won't do that so this series will go longer than it should.
Prediction: Lakers in seven
Boston Celtics (4) Vs. Atlanta Hawks (5)
TV Schedule: Sunday, 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT on TNT
The Celtics second-half resurgence was a thing of beauty but age caught up and Ray Allen is dealing with some bone spurs in his ankle. He's going to try and play through but it's not at all clear how mobile he'll be. The Hawks (still) have a lot of talent but (still) can't seem to figure out how to use it all. The Celtics defense will prevail and the Hawks don't have the size to take advantage of Garnett playing the five.
Prediction: Celtics in six
Los Angeles Clippers (5) Vs. Memphis Grizzlies (4)
TV Schedule: Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT on TNT
The Clippers have more talent than teamwork. Their defense is suspect and offensively they are predictable. Chris Paul can win games but the Grizzlies have options to throw at him defensively, and they play hard. The only chance for the Clips is if Blake Griffin can grow up fast and take advantage of Zach Randolph's suspect defense. That's not likely to happen.
Prediction: Grizzlies in five