This is where it gets interesting. The first round of the NBA playoffs saw only one game seven which will tip off tonight between the Jazz and Clippers in Los Angeles. This next round, however, will not be the same.
There are series full of high powered matchups that are sure to provide some excellent basketball over the next few weeks.
The matchup to keep an eye on is No. 4 Washington Wizards vs. No. 1 Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Both teams struggled in the first-round despite being the favorites to walk through the series. The other reason this series holds a bit more significance is the winner of this matchup will likely take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals. This series is sure to be back and forth for the duration.
Prediction: Washington Wizards win the series in seven games.
On the other side of the Eastern Conference is No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers. These two teams met last year in the Eastern Conference finals. Cleveland took the series in six games which was much longer than many projected this series would go. This year, the same may hold true. This Cleveland team has finally found their stride, but at the same time this Toronto team is very talented. The dual guard threat of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan along with a strong post presence in Serge Ibaka makes this team very scary at times.
The Cavaliers are overwhelming favorites in this series, however. With a completely healthy team, Cleveland could take this series in four games if they play up to their true potential. I think things will much more interesting though. Toronto may extend this series much further than expected depending on how they play. Regardless, the Cavaliers are the better team and will advance.
Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers in six games
In the Western Conference, the only set series as of now is No. 3 Houston Rockets vs No. 2 San Antonio Spurs. This will be yet another matchup between MVP candidates Kawhi Leonard and James Harden.
The difference maker in this matchup will be the front court of San Antonio. The combination of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol will be too much for this Houston team who is not a strong defensive team.
In addition to the two big men under the basket, Leonard cannot be overlooked. This MVP candidate has been a man among boys recently. Leonard may be the only player in the NBA that can lock up, or at least, contain Harden. This will be the key for San Antonio for the entire series as Harden has the ability to take over a game himself.
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs in six games
The last series is No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs the winner of No. 4 Los Angeles/No. 5 Utah Jazz which tips off tonight. Regardless of who wins tonight in game seven, the Golden State Warriors will sweep this upcoming series. Both the Jazz and Clippers are injury plagued and will be going on very little rest while the Warriors have had nothing but time to rest and refuel.
Even if both teams were healthy, I don’t see much competition in this series; the Warriors are just that talented.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors in four games
The second round of the NBA playoffs starts today at 1:00 p.m. as the Washington Wizards take on the Boston Celtics on ABC.