As promised, myself and the guys here at Standing Room Only give our picks and I break down the second round match-ups. But first, what a first round, am I right? The most game 7’s in first round playoff history with FIVE. Five series out of eight had to use every game to decide the winner. And who would’ve thought? For a lot of these teams some weaknesses were exposed to teams that should have been beaten in six at the most (cough* cough* ATLANTA). Now for the second round we have a little more understanding of certain things teams do well in a playoff setting. With that said let’s get this thing going!
1st round prediction records- Matt: 6-2. Ashton: 6-2. Aaron: 7-1.
Indiana vs. Washington
In the first round both of these teams showed us their true playoff colors. Indiana has been a disappointment and they were lucky to beat a really not-so-good team in the Atlanta Hawks. The guys on this team who need to play big in order to keep winning are really disappearing. Roy Hibbert was pretty much non-existent, failing to score a single point in two games and not recording a single rebound in another. George Hill and Lance Stephenson both look out of sync and I’m beginning to lose trust in Paul George’s ability to lead a team. On the other hand, we have Washington. Besides a few basketball geniuses out there, nobody had this team moving past the very heavy favorited Chicago Bulls. Not only did they move past Chicago, they ran them over and sent them running for help quicker than the Looney Tunes after the Monstars stole all that talent (you get my point, it was bad). John Wall and Bradley Beal have just been sensational and Nene is proving his worth on both ends of the floor. A team like this is a little small for the Pacers, but it doesn’t really matter if Hibbert is going to continue to not show up. Bye-bye Pacers.
Picks- Matt: IND in 7. Ashton: WAS in 7. Aaron: WAS in 6.
Miami vs. Brooklyn
This should be a fun series. We’ve seen during the regular season how these teams match-up and it was convincing enough for Brooklyn to tank for this meeting in the end of the season. Brooklyn showed experience against Toronto and still barely made it out of game 7. For them to really make it competitive with the Heat, they will have to see a little bit more out of Pierce and Williams. Joe Johnson was sensational the whole series but there’s no way that will cut it against this Miami team. Johnson was able to draw a double team just about every time he touched the ball against Toronto but with LeBron on the floor he’ll have no such luxury. On the other end of the floor they’ll have no answer for the King. There’s not a player on the Nets roster that stands a chance. KG knows a little something about that.
Picks- Matt: MIA in 6. Ashton: MIA in 6. Aaron: MIA in 6.
San Antonio vs. Portland
This one could really go either way. People have been counting San Antonio out for years because of their age and they continue to show us that the fundamentals can be devastating. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker still play at an elite level but the Blazers high paced style could prove to be too much. The Spurs took seven games to beat Dallas in a battle of the veterans and both teams could produce significant minutes due to the slower pace of the game. Parker is sure to give Lillard some issues early but in a seven game series he is bound to fatigue against the AAU era point guard. Then again, Big Timmy’s technique may be too much for Aldridge to handle down low; not to mention he’s got Popovich on his sideline. This is a tough one both ways.
Picks- Matt: SA in 7. Ashton: POR in 7. Aaron: POR in 6.
Oklahoma City vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Definitely the most entertaining match up of the second round. Clippers are hungry and emotional after all the controversy surrounding Donald Sterling and they seem to have a pretty nice momentum going. Blake Griffin has also stepped his game up tremendously, doing everything for his basketball team. For Oklahoma City and “Mr.Unreliable” (what a ridiculous name), they showed some weak spots in their games against Memphis. They are still one missing piece away from putting them over the top. Kevin Durant, who is anything but unreliable, carries the load on the offensive end with one other player in Russell Westbrook. Nobody else on that end of the floor really produces much consistently. For them to win against the Clippers they will have to focus on defense and that’s not easy with Ibaka down low with Griffin and Jordan ready to posterize him at any given second. I think the Clippers show they are the real deal in this match-up.
Picks- Matt: OKC in 5. Ashton: LAC in 7. Aaron: LAC in 7.