I’ve been slacking a little recently on the blog post, so first off, I am sorry to all my readers. Secondly, the title of this one says it all. I know it’s the start of Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs, but it is still VERY early and a whole lot is gonna happen.
The first round was much of what we expected, with a few wrinkles. I will start with a brief overview of the big takeaways I saw in the first round.
- The Clippers are not for real- For all of my Jalen & Jacoby listeners, you know that reference. The Clippers have yet again blown another series lead and have proven that they need a serious rebuild in L.A. CP, Blake Griffin, and JJ all are eligible to free agency, which i expect them to at least explore. The fix? Griffin needs to sign elsewhere and the Clips need to find another big time free agent to align with CP3 and DeAndre.
- Utah is back– Now let me make this clear. By no means am I saying the Jazz are contending for the championship, but I am saying that the Jazz are back to their winning ways and able to be back in the Playoffs year after year. Hayward and Gobert are a proven duo that can score and defend. Add in the experience of a couple veterans in Joe Johnson, George Hill, and Boris Diaw and you have yourself a team that can compete as long as the score is under 100.
- Boston will be really good for a couple years- We already know that the Cavs and Warriors are the elite, but the Celtics have proven that they can compete in the East and with another top 3 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, they are only going to add pieces this offseason. Another top pick and a possibly big time free agent, WOW! We could be doing nothing but adding weapons on the wing for IT4 to kick to when he is being double teamed.
Now, onto the good stuff….the 2nd round preview.
Celtics vs. Wizards
This will be one of the best series to watch. These two teams are arguably two of the most physical teams in the playoffs. Both teams have a stud PG in Wall and Thomas, but the front court play will determine the winner here. Morris and Gortat for the Wizards are going to have to try and keep Horford in check. Also, add in the great coaching of Brooks and Stevens and you have yourself glued to the TV the final 5 minutes of each of these games. Now, Game 1 went to Boston, as expected. I do see the Wizards winning one in Boston and this series going AT LEAST 6 games. John Wall and Bradley Beal will continue to show why they are at the top when it comes to scoring backcourts in the league.
Prediction: Celtics in 6 games
Cavaliers vs. Raptors
Another matchup in the playoffs for these two. Last year this was must-watch TV, as they both were battling each night going back and forth. I don’t think that this year will be the same though. The King and the Cavs have been playing at an exceptionally high level lately and I think they know that this road really begins at the ECF (Hell, they may think that it doesn’t start until the Finals). I think that DeRozan and the team up North will find a way to be competitive within the series, but the defending champions will prove their worth and make this series somewhat of a tune up. LeBron continues his mastery of the playoffs in this one.
Prediction: Cavaliers in 5 games
Spurs vs. Rockets
I mentioned the Celtics-Wizards series being one of the best to watch? Well, this one tops that as my favorite to watch. This will be a battle of two different styles. Entertaining doesn’t even describe this one. Kawhi and the Spurs teaming up against the 3-point shooting Rockets led by James Harden will be interesting. The Rockets will be able to stay in games with their great shooting and Harden’s play, but when crunch time hits, there is no better team in the NBA than the Spurs. Coach Pop will make sure that his team is ready. Houston clearly has something to prove to all of the people who doubted them all season. Keep an eye out for key matchup’s like the play of both second units. The Gordon-led Rockets versus Patty Mills and team international. Kawhi and Coach Pop do not allow this series to go the other way. It will come down to the wire, but the Spurs continue to be the Spurs and win when it matters.
Prediction: Spurs in 7 games
Warriors vs. Jazz
Much like the Cavs series, I don’t think this one lasts long. Consider this a tune-up. The Warriors firepower has proven to be something no team has been able to guard all season and they have had nothing but time to get prepared for this series and rest up in the last week. The defensively driven Jazz will struggle keeping guys like Curry, Thompson, and Durant all in check in any single game. I mean, c’mon! Who is gonna’ be able to stop these guys any night? With that said, I don’t think that Hayward and Gobert will be able to keep up the offense on the other end to stay within reach. Take the pedigree of the last few years along with the offense of the Warriors, and you have a force that many see and few are successful in defeating. The Warriors are winning this one and resting up for the Western Conference Finals for about another week.
Prediction: Warriors in 5 games
Needless to say, I think this year will be much of the same when it comes to who is in the Finals, The beauty of this game though is you never know what may happen. And for that, these matchup’s are quality series that may go 6 or 7 with the exception of a few. For the fans, that’s what we want. For many of these teams, it’s win and rest up as soon as possible.
Good news is, there will be more predictions before the Conference Finals. Let’s hope there is a plethora of quality games and performances before we even get to that point.