Very much like round one, round two of the NBA playoffs went just as we expected they would. The Cavs and Warriors swept their opponents (again), as they both appear to be on their way to a third straight NBA Finals matchup. For the Rockets, James Harden didn’t show up when it mattered and it cost him a chance at beating a short-handed Spurs team. His performance in game six was pathetic to watch, especially with Kawhi not being there to guard him. The Spurs are a well-oiled machine and they continue to show why they are a consistent force in the West year in and year out. Last but not least, the Celtics put up a fantastic seven-game series victory against the Wizards. John Wall and IT proved themselves to be among the top point guards in the NBA, but what this series really came down to was home court advantage. A road team didn’t win a single game all season when these two squared off, and that trend continued in the playoffs. With the second round in the books, let’s look ahead to the Conference Finals:
Celtics (1) vs. Cavaliers (2)
I don’t think the Celtics have a realistic shot at winning this series. They’ve been playing great these playoffs, but at the end of the day, the East belongs to LeBron until he shows us otherwise. This post-season he has continued to show his dominance and I don’t think it’s going to end here. The Celtics can definitely throw some hard punches at Cleveland, but it isn’t going to be enough to knock them out. They won’t be able to get by with how inconsistent their bench has been performing. The Cavs are also going to give them a ton of problems on the glass that I just don’t think they’re going to have an answer for. I do think the Celtics can take one of the first games at home, so I’m going to go with Cavs in five. I didn’t like how they looked on the road in the last series, and it’s only going to get harder in Cleveland.
Warriors (1) vs. Spurs (2)
When this match-up was officially set, I was going to pick Spurs in seven. I really liked how they played against Houston, and they are the only playoff team in the West that can expose the Warriors lack of a good big man. But with the injury to Kawhi in game one and the way they blew a 25 point lead in that game without him, I don’t like their chances as much. If he is going to miss extended time with that ankle injury this series isn’t going to be good for the Spurs. The way it looks right now, it appears that he is going to miss game two, so with that said I’m going with Warriors in six. The only way the Spurs stand a chance without Kawhi is if LaMarcus Aldrige just completely takes over, but right now I don’t like those odds.
I will be back with a Finals preview at the end of this round, so continue to stay tuned.
Written By: Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)