NBA Playoffs: 2012 Preview and Predictions

2012 NBA PLAYOFFS PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

WhatIfSports.com presents its preview of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Below is the main bracket and round-by-round series breakdown. To the right of the bracket is a table explaining every NBA playoff team's chances of winning each round, including the NBA Finals.

We simulated the entire 2012 NBA playoffs schedule 1,001 times. Home court is taken into account. Average wins and losses per series are indicated in the bracket. To toggle between rounds, click the appropriate link. You can simulate any game in the playoffs yourself using our NBA SimMatchup feature.

1
8
Bulls
76ers
4
3
4
5
Celtics
Hawks
3
4
3
6
Pacers
Magic
4
2
2
7
Heat
Knicks
4
2
1
8
Spurs
Jazz
4
1
4
5
Grizzlies
Clippers
3
4
3
6
Lakers
Nuggets
3
4
2
7
Thunder
Mavericks
4
3
1
5
Bulls
Hawks
4
2
3
2
Pacers
Heat
2
4
1
5
Spurs
Clippers
4
2
6
2
Nuggets
Thunder
3
4
1
2
Bulls
Heat
3
4
1
2
Spurs
Thunder
4
3
2
1
Heat
Spurs
2
4

WINNING PERCENTAGES

Eastern Conference
Seed/Team Round 1 Conf. Semis Conf. Finals NBA Finals
2 Miami
77.5% 60.4% 43.2% 18.4%
1 Chicago
56.3% 39.1% 20.2% 7.1%
8 Philadelphia
43.7% 28.6% 11.7% 3.3%
3 Indiana
84.4% 26.8% 11.4% 2.2%
5 Atlanta
65.2% 23.0% 8.3% 1.8%
7 New York
22.5% 11.4% 4.1% 1.1%
4 Boston
34.8% 9.4% 1.2% 0.1%
6 Orlando
15.6% 1.4% 0.0% 0.0%
Western Conference
Seed/Team Round 1 Conf. Semis Conf. Finals NBA Finals
1 San Antonio
92.5% 74.4% 47.9% 36.2%
2 Oklahoma City
58.3% 39.0% 20.4% 13.4%
6 Denver
59.5% 25.0% 12.4% 6.3%
7 Dallas
41.7% 21.4% 7.6% 4.2%
5 L.A. Clippers
57.1% 15.8% 5.9% 3.0%
3 L.A. Lakers
40.5% 14.7% 4.8% 2.6%
4 Memphis
42.9% 7.3% 1.0% 0.4%
8 Utah
7.5% 2.5% 0.1% 0.0%
Heat logo
Spurs logo
2
1
Heat
Spurs
2
4
Heat
Record: 46-20
Analysis: After playing second-fiddle to the Mavericks in last year's championship series, Miami is prepared for another run. The cast of characters remains mostly intact, with new additions Shane Battier and Norris Cole joining the rotation. LeBron James appears likely to earn his third MVP trophy when the awards are handed out. Credit his overwhelming efficiency in submitting a stellar season that even the most jaded voters won't be able to ignore. James attempted the fewest three-pointers of his career (2.4 per game), making 36.2 percent, a career-high. As a result, his field goal percentage also climbed to a career-best 53.1 percent. James leads the Heat in points, rebounds, assists and steals. His running mate, Dwyane Wade, has been limited to the fewest minutes of his career (33.2 per game), but has still chipped in 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. If Miami again meets Chicago in the conference finals, they'll concede home court advantage. However, that didn't prove to be a detriment last year when the Heat ousted the Bulls in five games.

Spurs
Record: 50-16
Analysis: For seemingly the third straight season, the Spurs geared up for "one last run" at a championship. But these aren't the same Spurs that dominated the last decade, even if the old guard of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker remains intact. Gone is the defense-first philosophy in favor of a style more reminiscent of Mike D'Antoni's Suns squads. The Spurs are second in the NBA in scoring, while ranking only 16th in points allowed. It's hard to argue the success of the new style, as it's enabled the Spurs to capture the No. 1 seed while limiting the minutes of Duncan (career-low 28.2 minutes per game) and Ginobili (23.3 minutes per game). However, a faster pace hasn't traditionally translated to playoff success, as D'Antoni's Suns proved with four playoff appearances in five years without reaching the NBA Finals. Perhaps the Spurs will shorten their bench (12 players average 6.4 or more points per game) and slow their pace during the postseason. After last year's first round loss to the No. 8-seed Grizzlies, they certainly won't be looking past any opponents.

Chances of Winning NBA Finals: Heat 18.4% - Spurs 36.2%

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