My thoughts and predictions for the second round of the playoffs ....
Celtics / Bucks: Bucks in 7
- It’s hard to see anyone who can take Giannis down but, if the Celtics can play at the top of their potential (and that’s a BIG if), the Celtics can take them to the limit.
Raptors / 76ers: Raptors in 5
Leonard is just too good. I was leaning towards Raptors in 6, but I honestly don’t see how Philly can stop them for more than 1 game.
Nuggets / Trailblazers: Trailblazers in 6
My head tells me that this should be easy for Denver. They’ve significantly outplayed them in the season series and Portland may be down another center. And, even a healthy Kantor shouldn’t be able to touch Jokic but ...
.... are you going to bet against this dude?
Warriors / Rockets: Warriors in 7
Granted, I don’t like Houston - so I’m biased - but James Harden is going to have to show me that he’s not going to fade away in the playoffs before I believe it.
Celtics / Bucks: Currently 2-1, Bucks (Original Prediction: Bucks in 7)
While I'm hesitant to bet against Playoff-Kyrie, I may have been too generous. I'm leaning more towards Bucks in 6, now ...
Raptors / 76ers: Currently 2-2 (Original Prediction: Raptors in 5)
That first game in Toronto was shocking but (and I'm saying this as a 76ers fan) I'd almost be equally shocked if the 76ers win another game.
Incidentally, while I don't think he's the best player in the NBA (I'd likely lean towards KD), Leonard has to be the most complete player in the NBA. I mean ... what can he not do? Besides play a full season, that is.
Nuggets / Trailblazers: Currently 2-2 (Original Prediction: Trailblazers in 6)
My heart is staying with Trailblazers in 6, while my head is telling me that this is going 7 games and either team could come out of it. Who would have ever guessed that this could end up being the 'Rodney Hood Series'??
Warriors / Rockets: Currently 2-1, Warriors (Original Prediction: Warriors in 7)
Weird, isn't it? This was - by far - the most intriguing series going into the second round and it has been the dullest, so far. I guess the Rockets could win another game but - now that we've had a few games - would anyone be surprised to see Golden State take this in 5? I wouldn't.
This is why you trade for Kawhi Leonard. On a night where both teams were tight, both teams were shooting poorly and both teams were afraid to shoot - you need a superstar to do superstar stuff. You can ask a bunch of stuff (why will no Raptor, other than Leondard and Ibaka shoot? Why did so many Philly plans start/end with Embiid closer to the 3-point line that the paint?) but all of those questions should be set to the side. The Raptors won because on one man, whose 41 points was the most ever in a Raptors series clincher. This is why you trade for Kawhi Leonard.
Trailblazers in 7 (Original Prediction: Trailblazers in 6)
I mentioned this, elsewhere, but what a weird game and weird series. Who would have every guessed that Portland could win a series thanks to a bench of players other teams didn't want, with no starting center and a bad series from Lillard (or, a bad series for him, at least).
Warriors / in 6 (Original Prediction: Warriors in 7)
In the end, what can I say. The Houston Rockets are gonna Rocket.
Has there ever been a team that's constantly doing the most and achieving the least?
This was a pair of fantastic Game 7s, a great weekend of basketball and one of the best Playoff Second Rounds I've ever seen.