After the first round ended, it was time for us to predict the second round of the NBA playoffs. Thankfully, this round looks to be a bit more competitive, with a lot more projected Game 7s and split decisions from our members.
The easiest matchup to predict is Golden State vs Memphis. Despite Memphis’ defensive prowess, the Warriors are an absolute juggernaut on both sides of the ball, with the Splash brothers piling on the points and the defense, led by Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green, taking care of business. Ten of our members predicted Golden State to win, though there’s a split on whether the Grizzlies will last five games or six. That would depend on the health of the currently injured Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley.
The Rockets vs Clippers matchup is a little more competitive. More than half our members predicted a seven game series, though the Rockets have a slight tilt in their favor. The Rockets had an easier route than the Clippers, who had to stave off the Spurs in the only Game 7 of Round 1. Both teams have a chance to win this series, and there will be plenty of firepower on offense with Chris Paul, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan in tow. This is most likely going to be the best series this round.
Next is the Hawks vs Wizards series. The Hawks’ road to round 2 was tougher than expected, with the Nets taking them to six games. They need to be at their best this time against the Wizards, who are roadside assassins, winning their last four road openers (including this one). Sweeping Toronto was impressive, but the Hawks are a much better team, and will put up heavy resistance against the skilled Wizards backcourt. This is another series that could go to a game seven, as all our members predicted a six or seven game series, with a slight tilt for the Hawks.
The Cavaliers were one of the hottest teams in the NBA in the second half of the season, and easily swept the Celtics in round one. However, that was a Pyrrhic victory, as they lost Kevin Love to season ending injury in the process and also lost JR Smith to a two game suspension. That, combined with Derrick Rose’s superb form in the last round against Milwaukee, is why most of our members believe Chicago will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Of course, LeBron James should never be counted out, which is why this is the most unpredictable series in the second round of the playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs had too many sweeps and quick exits, but now that the fat is trimmed, we can expect the playoff series to look more like the very exciting Clippers Spurs contest. Here’s hoping for some good series this time around.