2nd round playoff predictions..

Posted: 05/05/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

The first round is finished, and the second round is starting today. This is how I think it is going to turn out.

East:
#1 Miami Heat vs. #5 Chicago Bulls:
I thought the Nets would pull it out over the Bulls, but Chicago proved me wrong. I don’t like many of the players on the Bulls, but I do admire their spirit and relentlessness. Yes, they were playing without Derrick Rose. But they were also playing with a hobbled Joakim Noah, and without two veteran contributors in leading scorer Luol Deng and point guard Kirk Hinrich. I don’t know how they did it, but they won. The next round, of course, will be a different story. Rose won’t be back, but Deng and Hinrich have to be at full strength if they want to take this series six or seven games. Jimmy Butler, a young and mostly unknown player, will likely be given the task of guarding LeBron James. Butler is a good defender, but he is facing an almost impossible task.

My prediction: Heat in 5 (6 at most)

#2 New York Knicks vs. #3 Indiana Pacers:
Neither of these teams played to their potential in round one. Both had to struggle to six game series wins against lesser teams, and both looked dysfunctional at times. In the regular season series, the home team won every game and only one game was decided by fewer than 10 points. I think something like that will continue throughout this Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The Knicks need to spread the ball around, and Tyson Chandler needs to produce more down low. The Pacers need to give leading scorer Paul George some help. Whoever executes better will take this series.

My prediction: Knicks in 7

West:

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #5 Memphis Grizzlies:
This series is going to be hard to predict. On one side is a team that was dominant in the regular season, winning games by the highest average amount. Unfortunately, that has all changed, because the Thunder lost their playmaker and co-leader offensively, Russell Westbrook. They need to find some help for Kevin Durant, and it will probably need to come in the form of Serge Ibaka or Kevin Martin.They might not have enough offense to get by a stellar defensive team in the Grizzlies. Memphis is stacked defensively, with DPOY Marc Gasol and the best perimeter defender in the NBA, Tony Allen. If they can keep the Thunder under about 95 points (no easy task), they should win.

My prediction: Grizzlies in 6

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #6 Golden State Warriors:
The Cinderella, Golden State, drew a very tough second round match-up against a rested and experienced Spurs team. The Spurs haven’t lost to the Warriors at home since Tim Duncan was drafted. That’s amazing, and not a trend that I’m eager to pick against. Still, the Warriors could take this six or seven games, because they are so good at home and because they have Stephen Curry.

My prediction: Spurs in 7

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