Round Two of the NBA Playoffs is Upon Us

What kind of prognisticator would I be if I didn’t go back and review my predictions for the first round of the NBA Playoffs? Of course by doing this I run the risk of embarrassing myself tremendously or being able to puff out my chest and thump it like King Kong. Actually, it’s a bit of combination of the two which is great for keeping me humble.

In the Eastern Conference, I had Miami in five over the Bucks (Heat win 4-0). I had the Knicks in six games over Boston (nailed it). In the Brooklyn-Chicago series, I took the Nets in seven (Bulls win in seven). Lastly, I had Indiana in seven games over Atlanta (Pacers win in six games). So for the record, I hit on three of four winners and had one dead on accurate.

As far as the Western Conference… Not quite as impressive. I took the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games over Houston (Thunder wins in six). I had the Spurs beating the Lakers in six (Spurs get the sweep). I loved the Nuggets in seven over Golden State (Warriors win in six) and I also loved the Clippers in seven over Memphis (Grizzlies win in six). If you’re keeping track at home, that’s two out of four winners in the West for an overall record of five out of eight.

Now, on to the Second Round

Western Conference

Memphis at Oklahoma City – The Grizzlies won two of three this year against the Thunder and that was with Russell Westbrook on the floor for Oklahoma City. Now with the superstar point guard on the shelf for the remainder of the playoffs, I see the scales tipped heavily in favor of Memphis.

Kevin Durant will get his in this series but the Grizzlies will make him work for every point. I look for Memphis to shut down everyone else and make OKC Coach Scotty Brooks adjust to them. The absence of Westbrook is just too much to overcome. I like Memphis in six games.

Golden State at San Antonio – The Denver Nuggets tried to get physical with Steph Curry and the Warriors but it didn’t work in the end. The Spurs will do a little bit of everything in this series and that may prove to be the difference. Don’t be overly impressed by San Antonio’s sweep of LA considering the Lakers were banged up and showed little or no interest in even being there.

Witht hat said, the Spurs will present different challenges to the Warriors. Golden State is playing without David Lee and that will be a bigger issue in this series. Take the Spurs in six games.

Eastern Conference

Chicago at Miami – The two teams split their four-game series this season with one of those Chicago wins ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak. As expected, there is all kinds of “Will Derrick Rose finally play?” talk and I’m going with ‘no.’ The Bulls have been true Warriors in the playoffs defying injuries and illness at seemingly every turn.

Miami’s sweep of Milwaukee was about as eventful as watcing a tumbleweed move across the road. Now we get to see the ‘real Heat’ in what should be a very good and hard-fought series. We know LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company will be ready but how much left do Joakim Noah and Kirk Heinrich have? I’m going with Miami in six games.

Indiana at New York – The Knicks survived some ugly play against Boston to advance while the Pacers finally broke the mold and won on the road to beat Atlanta in six games. The Pacers and Knicks split their season series with two wins each and I fully expect this series to reflect the same type of balance.

The Knicks have to be careful not to get caught looking ahead to the Heat who they beat three out of four times this year. The Pacers simply need to be able to prove they can win on the road and the series-clinching win in Atlanta should have done that. I love an upset here. Take the Pacers in seven games.