The first round of the NBA playoffs lived up to its billing. Classic matchups such as Boston vs. New York combined with upsets of Atlanta over Orlando and Memphis over San Antonio caused the ratings to jump over 30%. Boston swept New York but every game was exciting, Miami dropped one to scrappy Philadelphia but the Sixers were in every game except one and they gave the Heat everything they had. So far so good for the NBA this postseason, let’s hope round two lives up to the hype.
Let’s start out west with the Memphis vs. Oklahoma City; two small market teams, but rising big time NBA franchises. The Thunder did away with a hot Denver Nuggets team in 5 games to move on and Memphis pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. Memphis an 8 seed took down a team that won 61 games this season, beating the Spurs in 6 games. Memphis is only the second 8th seeded team to upset a 1 seed in the current 7 game format. The Thunder and the Grizzlies met 4 times this season, with Memphis taking the season series 3-1. I will stick with the hot hand and take Memphis in 6 over Oklahoma City.
The Lakers and Mavericks are two of the most evenly matched teams in the playoffs. The Lakers average 101.5 points a game to the Mavericks 100.2. Both teams average slightly over 40 rebounds a game and both have a field goal percentage of over 46%. One could even go as far as the field goal percentage, Dallas .777%, LA .779 and the teams are still even. This series could be a great one, LA has the championships; Dallas is still seeking that long elusive trophy. I will take Dallas in 7; the drive for the championship wills the Mavericks over the Lakers.
In the East, the Bulls have had a few extra days off after sweeping the Pacers. Atlanta had a bit more of battle, but they finally overcame the Orlando Magic. The Hawks are good, but the Bulls are better. I see this series as the one that ends early; I’ll take the Bulls in 5.
The Matchup that will have every NBA fan glued to the TV is Miami and Boston. The new big three vs. the old big three. With names like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to go against Lebron James, DaWayne Wade and Chris Bosh this series is the NBA’s dream. The Celtics have the experience of championship runs, but so do the Heat. Wade guided them to a championship and James took Cleveland to the NBA finals so experience is on both sides. This series should be a slugfest and I see it going back and forth. In the end the Celtics are too much for the Miami’s big three and they win in 7.
The NBA playoffs take almost as long as the season to get through, but it’s worth every minute. The series are matched up well and the games are exciting. We’ll have to see how round two plays out.