NBA Playoffs -- Second Round Predictions
by Nicholas Grott
The second round of the NBA playoffs started on Saturday, April 24, with the Golden State Warriors easily handling the New Orleans Pelicans at home. This is the first of four serieses that make up one of the most anticipated playoffs ever, featuring numerous multi-all star teams, and the two greatest offensive teams in history.
GSW vs NOP
The Golden State Warriors handled the Anthony Davis led Pelicans quite easily on Saturday, and with NBA superstar Steph Curry returning for game 2, the Warriors will be even tougher to beat. Statistically, Curry improves the Warriors in every aspect of the game and will be yet another major scorer the Pelicans will have to worry about. Davis is the best player and the leader of the Pelicans, and he will need to continue to perform at an all time high--averaging over 33 points and nearly 12 rebounds--if the Pelicans are to have a change. Davis is an impossible force to stop, but he alone will not be enough be enough. If supporting players Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo do not step up, the Pelicans will simply have no chance against the Warriors. As for the Warriors, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant are enough to make the Warriors a top two team in the league and continue to play the best defense of any team the modern NBA era. As the series continues, I Warriors to continue to dominate.
HOU vs UTA
On Sunday, April 29, the Utah Jazz visited the one seeded Houston Rockets. MVP frontrunner James Harden put up 41 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Although the Rockets look solid and confident in the playoffs so far, both stars on the team, Harden and Chris Paul, have been known to be unable to win a championship. This weakness has a possibility to be exploited by the Jazz if Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can play their best. If the Jazz take advantage of the poor Houston defense, they have the ability to put up 115 or more and send the series to six or even seven games. However, I still see the Rockets coming out on top.
BOS vs PHI
This series features two of the youngest teams in the NBA and is the most even matchup. Both teams are coming off rebuilds and have succeeded tremounslessly. Boston is coached Brad Stevens who is one of the best strategic minds in the NBA. The 76ers are led by two possible future MVPs in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. In the first game, Horford, Tatum and Rozier all put up over 25 points. The Celtics stars, who combined for 83 points, will need to keep up the production in order to have a chance in the series. As I see it, as long as the 76ers play their young, fun basketball, they should be able to overcome the second seeded Celtics in under seven games. The duo of Simmons and Embiid is unmatched in the East. As the series eventually moves back to Philly, the loudest crowd in the NBA will be louder than ever and help their team advance.
CLE vs TOR
The final series, starting in Toronto, features LeBron James and the Cavs taking on the one seeded Toronto Raptors, who have one of the best backcourts in Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry. The Raptors are coming off of a 4-2 series win against the explosive Wizards, but have had sufficient rest because the Cavs-Pacers round one series went seven games. I believe this series will be hard fought and could go seven games, but in the end, King James will come out on top.