So I didn’t do too bad the first round. Basically all the teams I picked advanced except San Antonio. Of course some of the series went longer or shorter, but if I were doing a bracket it would still mostly be intact. Now let’s take a look at the second round, again starting with the East.
Cleveland Cavaliers v. Atlanta Hawks: Cleveland continued to look unstoppable as it swept Detroit in the first round and I expect to see Lebron continue their dominance against the Hawks. I am sorely disappointed by the Hawks after what was probably the worst 7 game series ever as each game was a blowout one way or another. I am interested in seeing the Josh Smith/Lebron matchup and how the Cavs handle Joe Johnson, but the Hawks need to find some consistency. The Hawks should give Cleveland more of a challenge than the Pistons did, but I don’t see the results being that different. Cleveland in 6.
Boston Celtics v. Orlando Magic: I’m going to be very unpopular in this town, but I love it. If only we didn’t have finals right now, I would definitely try to go to the games. I am cautiously optimistic about my Magic’s chances. If the C’s struggled with the likes of Joakim Noah and Brad Miller, they will absolutely get destroyed by Dwight Howard. On the other hand, I am worried about our perimeter defense. I’m not too comfortable with JJ Redick defending Ray Allen. Bottom line, if we had a healthy Courtney Lee, I would definitely say Orlando. Now, I have to add the caveat that Boston is fatigued and cannot stop Dwight Howard. Orlando in 7.
LA Lakers v. Houston Rockets: The Rockets have finally gotten out of the first round while the Lakers handled the Jazz almost as easily as the Cavs handled Detroit. Now LA’s offense will collide with Houston’s D. Houston has both Ron Artest and Shane Battier to throw at Kobe, but LA also has Bynum and Gasol to guard Yao Ming. The Rockets were able to win with a collective effort against the young Blazers in the first round, but I think their lack of T-mac (or another crunch time scorer) will really hurt them this round and thus I think LA will prevail. LA in 6.
Denver Nuggets v. Dallas Mavericks: So I underestimated Dallas in the first round. However, I will not overestimate them now and give them any chance against Denver. Denver thumped the Hornets by 58 points in the first round. Although I don’ t think they’ll replicate that against the Mavericks, I don’t see them struggling too much either. Chauncey Billups has really turned this team around, and this Dallas team is done. Denver in 6.
The NBA Playoffs: It’s amazing. Let’s Go Magic!