Alright everyone, I thought I had my first round picks spot on but I was wrong. The Magic couldn’t hit their 3-pointers and the Mavs look a lot better than I thought they were. So after the first round, I am 6 for 8 and hoping to run away with it here in the second round. We learned a lot in the first round, but more than anything I am starting to see a new face of the Western Conference rise. The Spurs, Mavs and Lakers are getting old and the Thunder are just getting started. With the lockout that everyone seems to believe will come after this season, there may only be another year left for all these veteran teams. Get ready to watch the Thunder take over with their youth, speed and determination. In the East, Rose has risen to the occasion but has a lot more competition in the long run. Durant has proven himself to be one of the top 5 players in the league now and he is still only 22 years old. Before I get carried away though, lets get right to my picks:
Miami Heat (2) vs. Boston Celtics (3) – As a Heat fan, there is no way I can pick against them, therefore expect this pick to be biased. While I admit this, I also truly believe the Heat will win this series. The Celtics didn’t impress me much against the Knicks, even though I thought it would be closer than a sweep. Stoudemire and Billups were both injured and if it wasn’t for Mike D’Antoni being the worst coach ever, the Knicks would have won the first two games. The Celtics beat up the Heat in the first game of the season, which was the first full game the big three played together. They are a completely different team now and playing much better on both sides of the ball. I believe the Heat will win this series in 7 on their home court.
Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5) – The Hawks had something to prove in the first round against the Magic, after being humiliated last year in four games. At the same time, the Magic were assembled as a 3-point shooting team and couldn’t hit any 3’s in this series. The Bulls played well against the Pacers, but were tested every night. Rose has stepped up his game tremendously and the rest of the team has followed him. This will be an interesting series, but I think the Bulls have the edge with Rose playing his best. I’m going to pick the Bulls in 6.
Oklahoma City Thunder (4) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8) – The two best stories in the first round will clash here in the second, for what should be an awesome series. The Thunder have been playing the best basketball of any team in the playoffs, behind Durant and Westbrook. The Grizzlies completed one of the biggest upsets in playoff history, becoming just the fourth 8-seed in history to defeat a 1-seed (Spurs). Their confidence is high as well as their determination, and they’re playing with heart, all three of which are ingredients for winning. With that being said, I believe the Thunder are young and quick enough to handle the Grizzlies and have more talent to overcome them. Taking nothing away from Memphis and what they accomplished against San Antonio, I have to pick the Thunder to win this series in 6.
Los Angelas Lakers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (3) – The Lakers showed signs of slowing against the Hornets, but finished strong in games 5 and 6. The Mavericks on the other hand played great basketball throughout, proving they are more than ready to make things happen. This will be the first playoff series between Kobe and Dirk and is sure to be worth the hype. While the Mavs are playing well and probably going to give the Lakers a hard time, I just don’t see them taking out the defending champions this quickly. I will stick with my preseason picks (Lakers vs. Heat in the finals) and say that Lakers will win this series in 7.
Let me know what you think…