Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Quick Rundown of the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs [so far]

It's Wednesday, and that means more playoff basketball in the NBA. Here's a recap of last night's games, as well as a preview of tonight's:

May 6, 2014

#6 seed Brooklyn Nets @ #2 seed Miami Heat 

Nets 86-107 Heat 

The Heat are the preliminary favorites in the East, thanks in large part because they have won back-to-back championships and their biggest competition in the East, the #1-seeded Indiana Pacers, lost to the Washington Wizards in Game 1 of their second-round match-up. Some people, [not including myself,] thought that the Nets had a great chance of beating Miami in this series, and a big reason was because of their sheer veteran-leadership. This is an old roster stacked with veterans, such as former Celtics and future Hall-of-Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Although I saw this series being competitive, I didn't see the Heat losing BEFORE the Conference Finals so I picked Miami in 7 games. And although it IS just one game, it looks like I thought too highly of the Nets. They got BLOWN out Tuesday night, and to a team that they have openly admitted that they "hate." After a competitive Round One series against the Toronto Raptors, which they just barely won in 7 games, this old group of guys past their prime just doesn't seem to have the energy to be consistently competitive against a younger Miami squad. 

Game 1 MVP: Heat Forward Lebron James, 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists  

Updated series prediction: Heat in 5 games 

#5 seed Portland Trailblazers @ #1 seed San Antonio Spurs 

Trailblazers 92-116 Spurs 

When I first looked at this series for my Round Two predictions, my first thought was, "This is going to be a great series." Well, so far it hasn't exactly been that way. The Spurs came out and absolutely DOMINATED in the 1st quarter, outscoring the Blazers 29-16 in the first period of play. Then in the 2nd quarter, they outscored Portland by 13 points AGAIN, 36-23. And while the Trailblazers actually outscored San Antonio in the second half, the 26-point lead was too much for them to overcome. Going into to this series my gut told me to pick Portland, while my head told me the logical thing to do was to go with my head and pick the Spurs. And I'm sure glad I did. 

Game 1 MVP: Spurs Point Guard Tony Parker, 33 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists

Updated series prediction: Spurs in 6 games 

May 7, 2014 

7:00 PM ET 

#5 seed Washington Wizards @ #1 seed Indiana Pacers 

Wizards lead series 1-0

This is it. Game 2. A must-win for the Indiana Pacers. In Game 1 the Wiz held All-Star Center Roy Hibbert to 0 points and 0 rebounds and a plus-minus of -17. Stars Lance Stephenson and Paul George shot a combined 8-of-30 from the field. And it helped the Wizards that Forward Trevor Ariza shot 6-of-6 from three-point range and second-year Guard Bradley Beal poured in 25 points. If the Pacers are going to win Game 2, they have to get out to the three-point line and shut down the three-ball, make sure they get good shots on their offensive possessions and that Stephenson and George are not just popping 30 contested jump-shots, and they MUST GET ROY HIBBERT GOING. He's been a non-factor thus far in the playoffs averaging just 4.3 points per game. I originally picked the Wizards to win this series in 6 and I'm sticking by that. 

Prediction for tonight's game: Pacers 97-93 Wizards 

9:30 PM ET

#3 seed Los Angeles Clippers @ #2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder  

Clippers lead series 1-0 

Originally I picked the Thunder to win this series in 7, but after losing 122-105 at home, I'm not so sure if I made the right choice. Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but had a whopping -26 plus-minus. What is plus-minus? The point-differential of a player's team when he is on the floor. That means Oklahoma City was outscored by 26 points when Durant was on the floor. That's just not an acceptable playoff-performance from a guy who recently won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Although, it also helped that the Clippers' superstar Point Guard, Chris "CP3" Paul, knocked down 8 three-pointers. I don't see CP3 going off for 32 points again Wednesday, and after winning the MVP Award, Durant will be hungry. 

Prediction for tonight's game: Thunder 107-98 Clippers 


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