Belated Second Round NBA Playoff Picks
With two notable exceptions, my first round NBA picks turned out pretty well.
I predicted that the Pacers would beat the Hawks in seven, and they did. I predicted the Heat would beat the Bobcats in five, and they beat them in four. I predicted the Nets would beat the Raptors in seven, and they did. I predicted the Trail Blazers would beat the Rockets in six, and they did. I predicted the Spurs would beat the Mavericks in five, and they beat them in seven. I predicted the Thunder would beat Memphis in seven, and they did. I predicted the Clippers would beat Golden State in six, and they beat them in seven. The one prediction I got wrong? The Chicago-Washington series. I predicted the Bulls would win in six games, but it was the Wizards who took the series in six games.
Anyway, here’s what I think will happen in round two:
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — The Thunder’s managed to get out of round one, but they were lucky to do so. The Clippers also needed seven games to advance, but the long series — and the Donald Sterling controversy — seemed to make them stronger and tougher. Right now, I have a lot more confidence in the Clippers’ core players and bench than the Thunders’ core players and bench. And Doc Rivers is a way better coach than Scott Brooks. I think the Clippers will win, and they’ll make it look surprisingly easy. Clippers in six.
Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers — OK, I’m convinced. The Wizards are pretty good. And the Pacers ... well, let’s just say that the Pacers are not. I don’t know what went wrong with this once-promising team, but it’s tough to think of a weaker-looking number one seed. It’s gotten to the point where I actually feel sorry for Roy Hibbert, because something is seriously wrong with him. Meanwhile, the Wizards are playing with great energy, skill and purpose. They can beat the Pacers, and they know it. Wizards in six.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat — Boy, it was fun watching Paul Pierce be heroic and help clinch the series for the Nets, even if it made me sad all over again about the Celtics’ unfortunate decision to trade him away. The Nets had a fun first round, but the fun stops here: They will lose to a superior and well-rested Miami Heat team. Heat in five.
Portland vs. Trail Blazers — Like the Nets, the Trail Blazers have also been on a fun run, upsetting a higher seed and making heroic, last minute shots. Unfortunately, tonight the plucky Trail Blazers are going to slam head first into the juggernaut known as the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, the Spurs struggled in round one. But Dallas was an unusually talented and well-coached eighth-place team. And I never got the feeling that the Spurs were in danger of losing, even when it looked like they might. My guess is that the Spurs will get their act together in this round, and put the Trail Blazers in their place. Spurs in six.
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