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NBA Playoffs: Second Round

Brian Taylor

Posted on May 1, 2018 21:32

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The contenders are starting to seperate themselves in the NBA Playoffs.

After getting most of my First Round picks correct (Portland being the biggest letdown, but that's nothing new for this guy), it's time to take a look at the Second Round. As I write this, every series has played one game, but with the NBA starting the Second Round with the teams that were ready to go before the First Round finished (are you listening NHL?), there really wasn't a "best time" for these, but alas, here we are.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1)TORONTO RAPTORS vs (4)CLEVELAND CAVALIERS - Victor Oladipo and Indiana fought valiently, but LeBron James proved to be too much and willed his Cavaliers into the Second Round, where they meet up with the Toronto Raptors, the East's top seed. Cleveland has ended Toronto's season the last two years in the playoffs, but this year they're the ones with the home court edge. The old adage "to be the best, you have to beat the best" rings true for the Raptors if they want to take that next step into the NBA's elite. LeBron is playing at a really high level, but can he hold up in this series, particularly if he's getting figuratively ZERO from his teammates. My guess is no. RAPTORS IN 7.

(2)BOSTON CELTICS vs (3)PHILADELPHIA 76ERS - After a dominating performance against the Miami Heat, the rest of the league was ready to anoint the 76ers as the new "team to beat" in the East, and it certainly looked that way until the Celtics reminded us on Tuesday Night that they're still a pretty solid club too. No Kyrie? No problem for the C's as Terry Rozier III and Marcus Smart have stepped up big for Brad Stevens, who remains the most underrated coach in the NBA. That said, I expect the Sixers to bounce back in a big way. SIXERS IN 7.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1)HOUSTON ROCKETS vs (5)UTAH JAZZ - The Rockets made quick work of Minnesota, while Utah looked like a fun team to watch in their series win over OKC. Unfortunately, the Jazz lost their engine in Ricky Rubio to hamstring injury in the last round. If Rubio is unable to go, this series could get ugly quickly, as evidenced in Houston's Game One route. With Rubio, the Jazz could give Houston fits, but this Rockets team looks like they're for real. ROCKETS IN 6.

(2)GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS (6)NEW ORLEANS PELICANS - The Pelicans were the shock of the First Round, not only beating the heavily favored Portland Trail Blazers, but dominating them in the process. Riding high after their sweep, the Pels ran into a buzzsaw Saturday Night in the Golden State Warriors, a buzzsaw only getting stronger as Steph Curry is expected to be back for Game 2. It would be easy to predict a sweep for the Warriors, but New Orleans still has something left and some favorable matchups to make a series out of this. WARRIORS IN 6.

 

Brian Taylor

Posted on May 1, 2018 21:32

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Source: CBS Sports

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