Round one of the NBA playoffs should mostly just consist of the higher-seeded team winning. So I see Chicago, Miami, Indiana, and Boston all prevailing in the East though obviously the Celtics-Hawks matchup should be close.
The West is a bit more interesting. Denver is clearly better than the Lakers by point differential and I see that all 14 of ESPN’s “experts” are nonetheless picking LA, so I’ll go with the Nuggets to be contrary. Note that the Nuggets are subject to an unusual level of “rotation choice risk” and suffered a lot during the regular season due to George Karl giving too many minutes to Al Harrington and too few to Kenneth Faried. Meanwhile the Clippers should beat the Grizzlies if Chris Paul is actually healthy, but I think he might be lying. I will however choose to believe him and make the Clippers my official pick.
It’s also really unfortunate that the Lakers get the #3 slot despite having the exact same 41-25 record as Memphis. I understand that they hold the tie-breaker, but David Stern should have appealed to the special “a Clippers/Lakers 4/5 playoff matchup would be awesome” meta-rule.