30 April 2011

2011 NBA Playoffs: Round 2 Predictions

As the road to the 2011 NBA Finals has carried on, eight teams have survived the first round to keep their title dreams alive. But which clubs will see their dreams end in the Conference Semifinals and which will be fortunate to march on to the Conference Finals? Here are my picks.


(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks
 
The Bulls did not look up to form for much of the series against the Indiana Pacers but I attribute that to more of looking past their opening round opponents rather than a possible vulnerability. Meanwhile the Hawks did a tremendous job of shutting down the Orlando Magic to take that series. But the Hawks are usually a very good opening round team but then to struggle once they advance. And they don't have anybody that can shut down Derrick Rose. 
Bulls in 5
(2) Miami Heat vs. (3) Boston Celtics
 
This is easily the most anticipated series of the playoffs thus far. Miami and their elite trio of James, Wade, and Bosh against the grizzled veterans from Boston. The Heat may be younger and you can argue that they are more talented than the Celtics. But I think that yet again, LeBron James will struggle against Paul Pierce while the Heat have no one that can guard Rajon Rondo effectively. I like the Celtics to utilize their experience to just get by the Heat. 
Heat in 7

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks
 
I think it's going to be the same old story for the Mavericks here and I do not think they will pose much of a threat to the Lakers. Kobe Bryant is hungry for yet another title while Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have both been dominant down low. I do not even think the Mavericks will even win a game. I still do not think they can get it done come playoffs time. 
Lakers in 4

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Memphis Grizzlies
 
The Grizzlies stunned many to defeat the top seeded Spurs in the opening round (except for Charles Barkley) and this is a very good squad. They have good guards and a pair of quality bigs in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. But this Thunder is now a complete squad with Kendrick Perkins added to the mix. They added his presence so that they would inject some fear in their opponents in the paint and its safe to say it has worked. The Thunder now have a matching interior to their explosive wings led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Grizzlies will not go away easily but the Thunder do have the clear edge.
Thunder in 6

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