North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

I love being wrong – NBA Second Round picks

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Honestly, I found the first round of the NBA Playoffs kind of underwhelming. Perhaps it’s in context of an excellent series between the Bulls and the Celtics and one that I didn’t see – but looked good on SportsCentre – between Orlando and Philadelphia.

But really, sweeps aren’t all that fun to watch unless you’ve got a stake in the sweeping team. I enjoyed watching Cleveland take apart Detroit for this reason, but I was never surprised or felt tension from those games. It felt like I was watching ESPN Classic; I had a vague recollection of what’s going to happen and I watched to see how it happened but I always knew what was going to happen.

I knew that Cleveland was going to win that series and that it was never going to be in doubt. I knew the Lakers were going to win their series. Same for Dallas. I had a pretty good idea that Orlando was going to win, too.

But every year I “know” who’s going to win. And every year I’m wrong, which is what I love about the postseason. I love being surprised. And that didn’t happen this year.

Will it pick up in the second round? Perhaps. The east will be drained, as two teams went to seven games, while the west should be nice and rested: only Houston played a sixth game and all teams had a few days rest.

Western Picks

(1) Lakers vs (5) Houston

The Lakers have looked great so far and should keep it up. Like last year, they’re a multipointed team; stop Kobe and you’ve left Gasol and Oden open. And while the Rockets have finally broken the first-round barrier, I think it’ll stop here.

The Blazers were a good team, but they were young and inexperienced in the postseason – and they still gave the Rockets a run for their money. That says a lot about the Rockets to me, so I think the Lakers will be more then able to handle them.

Lakers in five.

(2) Denver vs (6) Dallas

I didn’t get much of a chance to watch either of these two series, but what little I saw of Denver showed me how physical that series against New Orleans was. It was brutal, with bodies flying all over the place. Sure, the Nuggets eventually exploded and won by 58 points, but I was surprised by how well they responded to that aggression.

Dallas, though, almost got a pass in the first round. They beat a crippled San Antonio, a team missing one of its three most important players and relied on Anthony Mason to make clutch shots. Let’s just say I don’t remember him making too many of those in Toronto.

So I’m wary on the Mavs. I feel they haven’t really been tested yet and I don’t know what they’re capable of. On paper I think they have the talent to beat Denver, but on the court I’m not so sure. I’m going to go out on a limb and take them to win in a longish series.

Mavs in six.

Eastern conference

(2) Boston vs (3) Orlando

Both of these teams barely escaped the first round. Boston narrowly made it past the Bulls in a great series that showed how much the C’s need Garnett on the court. Orlando, it seemed, actually was pretty good even without some of its starters – but a couple baskets go the other way and maybe Philly upsets them. It was that close.

While I feel like Boston will be drained from playing such a grueling series, I also think they’re a lot better then Orlando. The Magic have a great chance to steal a win or two early on, and if they do, they’ll have a great shot at winning a long series. But if they can’t, I think Boston will be able to prevail.

Boston in six.

(1) Cleveland at (??)

I’m writing this during the first half of game seven between Miami and Atlanta. I don’t know who’s going to win, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that whomever does is going to lose to Cleveland, maybe even in a sweep. The Cavs looked that good against Detroit.

Cleveland in four.

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Written by M.

May 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

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