In my mind, the Golden State Warriors remain the wild card of the NBA play-offs, while the rest of the round two projections are pretty clear cut. Expect many of the play-off series will end as the early round two games will indicate. After pulling one of the greatest upsides in NBA history by defeating the Dallas Mavericks, it’s hard not to believe in the Warriors. One thing’s for sure: you can’t count them as an eight seed anymore.
Detroit dominated their first game against the Bulls in the semi-finals, and expect more of the same. Chicago looked great against Miami, but Miami was a mess. Their star was injured, their roster gutted with over the hill veterans, and Chicago’s style of play was perfect to exploit all of Miami’s weaknesses. Detroit is a much better defensive team than Chicago and while Chicago may have won the regular series between the two teams, Detroit has the veteran leadership and game style to defeat Chicago. Expect Detroit in six.
The Cavs-Nets series is going to be one of those where it was actually much closer than it looked, because the Nets are going to make Cleveland fight for every single game. Almost every game between these two teams has been decided this season in the last minute, but every time LeBron James has delivered the goods. Expect several good, close games in this series, but Cleveland will take it. Expect Cleveland in six.
The Suns-Spurs match up should be a fantastic series. You have the run ’em up scoring versus the fundamental defense and team work of an equally strong San Antonio team. Both of these teams can score, but the Spurs are a much better defensive team, especially off the bench. The Spurs have the #1 defense in the NBA while the Suns have the #1 offense. Like almost any sport, when in doubt, pick the team with the better defense. The Suns will take some games, but the Spurs are the best team left in the play-offs, and I expect them to take it all the way, though not before taking the Suns’ best shot. Expect San Antonio in seven.
The wildcard: Golden State versus Utah. Maybe it’s the desire to see the underdog win, maybe it’s the ravenous fan base, but I think Golden State has a legitimate chance to win this series. After what Stephen Jackson did to Dirk Nowitzki, can you really see Carlos Boozer being effective at all? Baron Davis is playing with the amazing potential fans always knew he had, though that injured hamstring really makes me nervous. If it can hold out, so can the Warriors. They beat the Mavericks, and I think they can beat the Jazz in another great series. Expect Golden State in six, assuming Baron’s injury isn’t too bad. What can I say? I believe.