Monday, May 4, 2009

2nd round predictions

After a great 1st round of playoff basketball, including the most watched 1st round series of all-time featuring the Celtics and Bulls, the 2nd round has the potential to be even better. The Cavs proved to everyone that they are on a mission to the NBA finals as they swept the misfiring Pistons. The Lakers, Nuggets and Mavs showed the East that the West is still the best conference in the NBA by disposing of their opponents in 5. The Magic survived an early scare after losing on home court to the Sixers but internal dissent and a lack of intensity contributed to the Sixers practically beating themselves. They were blown out in the final game on home court by the Howard-less Magic, as "Superman" was too busy sitting in a hotel room tweeting like a 13 year old girl. The Rockets, Hawks and Celtics each squeaked into the 2nd round after an exhausting 7 game series. Luckily they will have plenty of time to rest after they are eliminated in round number 2. The Hawks should start making vacation plans and booking tee times now as they will be the first to say aloha to playoff basketball. The Hawks looked horrible in every loss to the Heat but managed to only kinda suck enough to be beat the Heat in one more game. So get your bookies on the line cuz I predicted every series right except the Bulls eliminating the Celtics, not to mention predicting the correct amount of games in all but 2 series because its time for my round 2 predictions.

Lakers vs Rockets: This one boils down to Kobe's George Bush like offense vs Ron Ron's border line sexual harassment on defense. Kobe was Kobe in the first series, flooding the stat sheet worse then Katrina did New Orleans in all but the one road loss to the Jazz. The Lakers had their way with Utah as a different starter had a starring role in each win. Kobe's supporting cast was superb with the exception of Andrew Bynum. Bynum wasn't happy with his benching by Phil Jackson but the Zen master has never cared about hurting his players feelings so he better get used to it. Phil will keep Bynum on the bench until Yao breaks out and stomps through the Lakers interior defense like Godzilla through the streets of Tokyo. Yao Ming had a relatively quiet first round while putting up solid numbers. He single handedly won game one with his offensive accuracy, going perfect from the floor in the first half. But Ming managed to hide in the shadows for the rest of the series.....which is no easy task for a 7 foot 6 Chinese guy. Yao will have to attract more attention in the bright lights of L.A. to have any chance of beating the lake show in this series. Kobe will continue to get the help from his supporting cast like he did in round one so the Rockets and Yao Ming are only 6 games from being done.........Lakers in 6.

Nuggets vs Mavericks: This matchup has the potential to be the best series of the 2nd round. The Mavericks shocked everyone by beating the battle tested Spurs in five games. But remember the Spurs were without one of their big 3, Manu Ginobilli. Mind you the Celtics got past the Bulls without Garnett but the Mavs have more playoff experience and are a far superior team to the young Bulls. The Mavs scored at will on the Spurs and played tight enough defense to contain everyone but Parker, who tore through the paint and scored with ease. That will prove to be the Mavs undoing as the Nuggets starting five excel at getting buckets in the paint. The Nuggets breezed by the Hornets led by Chauncey Billups outside shooting and their intimidating interior D. The Birdman is flying around the court like a ball hawk (no homo), K-Mart's got his swagger back (despite the wack, lips tat on his neck) and Nene's mean muggin more than Xzibit before he traded in being hard on albums for being a clown on MTV. The point is that the Nuggets play with a swagger and tough nosed edge that the Mavs won't be able to compete with. The trade for Billups has helped every player on the Nuggets roster improve and play within a team concept. We all know Melo and the rest of the team are susceptible to erupt at any moment, but with Mr.Big Shot keeping everyone in check and playing team defense, Denver will be too much for Dallas to handle........Nuggets in 6.

Cavs vs Hawks: The Cavs beat the Piston's like an old rug in every aspect of the game, leaving the Piston's lookin thoroughly beaten and.......well......old. The Cavs had fun and looked like a high school team playing against a wheelchair basketball team the way they danced on the sidelines and joked before games, showing no respect or fear for that matter. At no point during the series did they display any fear of losing even when the Pistons were charging hard in the fourth quarter. Cleveland's starting five simply re-entered the game and put the lead back up into double digits where it belonged and picked up the win. Lebron has his Cavs believing in him, the team and most importantly, themselves. Lebron leads his troops and has the love of his followers like the NBA has never seen. He is adored and admired on a Barak Obamaesque level across the country and the globe. The Hawks/Heat matchup was one of the worst first round series in years. There were no lead changes after the first quarter, as the team to win the first quarter went on to win the every game of the series. The Hawks were unimpressive even in their wins and don't look like a championship calibre team. They showed no grit or determination as they weren't able to mount a comeback in any of their losses which included one on home court. Legit championship contenders are never out of any game, double digit lead or not. The Hawks simply aren't good enough to challenge this year's version of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lebron and the Cavs will breeze to the conference finals before they even lose a game........Cavs in 4.

Magic vs Celtics: The Celtics were able to prevail without the heart and soul of their team Kevin Garnett. The Bulls hung in and forced Pierce, Rondo and Allen to respond with superhero like performances to claw their way to each hard fought win. Their series win was a testament to their team unity and desire to not be content with their 2008 championship. The Celtics new big 3 are playing at a high level and demanding the team's role players keep up. Glen Davis played great and carried the teams scoring load in the frontcourt in Garnett's abscence. Big Baby's game has grown immensely without Garnett in the line up, berating him like an alcoholic father whose athletic failings have led to him live through the triumphs of his son who beats him senseless for reminding him of his own failures with each agonizing loss. Despite making him cry like a big baby on national TV, Garnett has made Davis into a true power forward who is capable of starting on a nightly basis in the league. The Celtics are no joke even without KG in the lineup and still are almost impossible to beat on home court. Which is why the Magic have to make sure this series does not make it to game 7. The Magic looked beatable early in their opening series with the 76ers until they got healthy and got the numbers they were used to from their all-stars. Howard was phenomenal throughout the 1st round and needs to continue his dominance into round 2. The Magic's key to success will be getting consistent play from the rest of their starting five. Lewis and Turkoglu both struggled but were instrumental in wins for the Magic. If Orlando can get a big performance or two from Turk and Lewis then the Magic may prove to be too much for the Celtics. Howard will stretch the already thin Celts frontcourt with his attacks on the rim and elbows in the paint (just ask Dalembert and Courtney Lee what they think about his elbows) forcing the C's to use every foul they have. With that being said the Magic will not be able to take any game lightly and must steal one of the first two games in Boston to win the series........and they will.......Magic in 6.

See you in the conference finals.

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