What a first round!
Before I get to my Eastern Conference Semi-Finals predictions, I have to say, in all my years of watching the NBA, that was the best first round of a playoff series I've ever seen. That's probably the greatest first round playoff series I've seen in all sports. Each game was played like a Conference Finals game.
Except for the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcat series. Although, that series did have Michael Jordan and LeBron James on the same floor... Lol.
So let's start the predictions of round 2.
This is going to be a very interesting matchup, because the Pacers are not in their a-game; an Indiana team who were in the one seed throughout the season and now going through major struggles after going seven games against an eight seed team. Now they're going against a five seed Wizards team that's young, talented, fast and red hot. Is Indiana going to find themselves in this series?
I don't feel like they will -- that's why I'm picking Washington in six games.
I just feel that Washington is younger, bigger up front and quicker in the backcourt with Bradley Beal and John Wall.
This could go seven or the Pacers way, if Roy Hibbert returns to form. If not, Washington wins this series easily. David West can't hold Marcin Gortat and Nene all by himself. I know how great West can be, and we know he can put up 20-10 in his sleep. But it'll be too much for him to handle, if Hibbert is -- still -- not playing well.
The way the Atlanta Hawks scored on the Pacers defense, how can you expect them to stop Wall and Beal.
Experience and high scoring ability, is gonna win it for OKC.
Barring Jamal Crawford going on fire in this series, I just don't see the Clippers having enough to stop Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
I was going to pick the Clippers in seven, but I don't think they can outscore Oklahoma in four games. The Clippers don't have that second, all-around scorer. They don't have a Paul George or Joe Johnson who can score from anywhere. If Crawford were seven-eight years younger, then I'd say L.A has a shot. But not at this age.
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are gonna have their hands full trying to guard the paint. And Griffin is gonna have to guard Serge Ibaka, at times, from the corner three. OKC has too much size for the Clippers to handle.
Another main reason why I see OKC winning, is because the struggle Chris Paul will have guarding Westbrook.
The only way Brooklyn wins this series is if Paul Pierce turns back the clock and Deron Williams plays like he's capable.
Yes, Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be ready to play Miami in the first game; they're gonna be pumped. I actually see Pierce having a great first game in Miami. He and Garnett may not last very long through the series. They're both aging and just finished a seven-game series against the Toronto Raptors, while the Heat are very well rested.
We all know the Nets are 3-0 this season against the Heat. Though that means squat. It's the playoffs.
The one thing the Nets can do, that very little teams can do, is intimidate the Heat. Pierce and Garnett can trash talk Miami and annoy them. Miami gets thrown off their game when a team plays physical against them. Nets need their big men like Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee to play physical in the post.
Also, the Nets need to get hot from three-point range, if they want any chance of winning this series. Pierce, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Joe Johnson and especially Deron Williams have to abuse Miami from three.
The Nets need a lot players to break out. Shaun Livingston is number one on that list. Brooklyn needs Livingston to be a big factor for them. He can be a pain for Miami to deal with.
You know what the Nets are gonna get out of Johnson -- Williams is the mystery key. He's gotta get it going.
And finally, the number one reason why I don't see Brooklyn beating Miami, is because Miami has something Brooklyn doesn't -- a Lebron James.
In order for the Nets to stop James, they have to close the interior paint; make James hurt you from the perimeter. Make James have to score from jump shots. Once you stop James, or get him out of the game, Miami has nothing to stop with.
I feel Brooklyn can't win this series because of the lack of durability; what they had to endure from the Toronto series. I mean, who knows, maybe rust could be a factor for Miami. But the age on Brooklyn and Deron Williams not being what he once was, I don't know if they have what it takes.
This is a tough one.
I'm worried about the age on San Antonio, but they're so experience and Portland is still very young, it makes me believe Spurs will find ways to score and use Portland's inexperience against them.
But I'm worried about the Spurs durability after that seven-game series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Good thing about San Antonio is they have point guard in Tony Parker to go matchup well against Portland's Damian Lilard. That's actually going to be a fun matchup to watch.
Tim Duncan on LaMarcus Aldridge should be fun to watch, as well.
I would've picked Spurs in six, but after that wear and tear series from Dallas, I could see them being a little step slower.
Lilard is gonna have a great series. If Monte Ellis can score over 20-points in the Spurs series, imagine what Lilard can do.
Although, too much experience and discipline will help the ageless Spurs.