Quick fire preview of the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs


Phoenix Suns (1) vs Dallas Mavericks (4)

Both these teams are coming off 6 game series, with The Suns beating the Pelicans, and Dallas getting past Utah. Both these teams also closed out their series wins on the road. And they’re both led offensively by their superstars who are coming back from injury. Neither series going to a game 7 is good because it allows the teams to have just that little bit of rest and recovery period.

My prediction for this series- Phoenix wins it in 6. I think this will be a VERY closely fought series. Luka will obviously carry the offensive load on the Maverick’s side. Everybody knows that. Stopping it is another matter. And the rise of Brunson will definitely keep the Suns defense honest. On the Suns’ side, CP and Booker will be huge of course. But the wing depth and the size inside the paint is where I think the Suns will take this series. Their centers aren’t one dimensional like Rudy Gobert for Utah, who Dallas just took out of the game

Golden State Warriors (3) vs Memphis Grizzlies (2)/Minnesota Timberwolves (7)

Golden State got past a depleted Denver Nuggets team in 5. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was incredible this series for Denver, but it was just too much to overcome. The emergence of Jordan Poole, playing his first playoff series, has been a revelation. And the 3rd iteration of the Warriors death line-up seems set, and ready to go. Steph, Klay, Poole, Wiggins, and Draymond at the 5. They play very small (got out rebounded 50-37 by Denver in game 5). But their offense is lethal. The 3 guards can shoot lights out. Wiggins has had a career year from beyond the arc. And the constant movement with Dray running point means endless opportunities to cut to the rim. The Memphis-Minnesota series is pretty much shaping out to be as expected- 2 very young and inexperienced teams who play with a lot of energy, make highlight plays, make stupid mistakes, and nobody can predict what’s going to happen next. Explosive talents on both sides. Minnesota should have won the series 4-1 but instead Memphis leads in 3-2 and go to Minnesota looking to close it out.

My prediction for the Warriors second round series- Firstly, Golden State will be hoping that whoever they face, the other series goes 7 games. You want your opponents to be as mentally and physically exhausted as possible. Whoever comes out of the Griz-Wolves series will dominate the paint against Warriors (Memphis led the league in rebounds). They have the talent and depth (Memphis even more so) to go toe to toe against Golden State. But they play rash and make bad decisions. I think this is where the experience of the Warriors will come through and they take the series in 6. Homecourt comes into play (if they play Memphis), but the Warriors will look to split the first 2 against Memphis and neutralize that.


Miami Heat (1) vs Philadelphia 76ers (4)

Miami have been excellent throughout the regular season. Despite injuries to their stars, they convincingly claimed the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Yet most people around the league will pick Milwaukee, Boston, and Philly above them to represent the East. And Miami play like they have a point to prove. They dispatched Trey Young and his Atlanta Hawks in 5. Defensively they completely nullified Trey like nobody had before. Offensively, they are unique. Jimmy Buttler leads the way but the playmakers and shooters around him in Kyle Lowry, Herro, Duncan Robinson, Struss and co compliment each other nicely. Defensively, PJ Tucker, Jimmy Buttler, and Bam Adebayo are brilliant. It will be interesting to see how Bam and Miami defend Embiid though. They can’t switch everything like they usually do because Joel Embiid will put the game away by pounding the paint. Bam vs Embiid will be fun. Philly on the other hand are more superstar driven than system driven. Embiid, and especially James Harden, have to play great. They dodged a bullet and a potential collapse against Toronto and closed the series in 6. But their superstars have to perform better.

My prediction for this series- Miami Heat in 7. I think this series goes the distance. It is system vs star power. Will Miami’s system be able to contain Philly’s stars? Will the “others” on the 76ers be able to take on and hold off the depth and talent of the Heat? Embiid will get his. Jimmy will get his. Which one of them has a better supporting cast will dictate the series.

Boston Celtics (2) vs Milwaukee Bucks (3)

Boston will be the most confident team remaining in the playoffs. The only team to sweep their opponent. And for the opponent to be the KD and Kyrie led Brooklyn Nets? They will believe that they can go all the way. And with good reason. They are by far the best defensive team in the league. They can switch everything. Jason Tatum has taken his game to another level and is now a superstar in the league. Jaylen Brown has been fantastic and a brilliant 2nd option. They’re both among the best 2 way players. Add the Defensive Player Of the Year point guard Marcus Smart to the mix? That defense looks formidable. Rob Williams, Al Horford, Daniel Theis are all solid bigs. Milwaukee though will feel like they have enough to shut down teams and to score a ton too. Jrue Holiday is a defensive savant. Giannis is a wall to get past. And he is unstoppable offensively. Apart from game 2 of their first round series where Demar DeRozan went OFF to carry the Chicago Bulls to a win, every other game was a comfortable and dominant win for the Bucks. Giannis is growing from strength to strength and is the best player in the league right now, without question.

My prediction for this series- I’m saying that the Boston Celtics win it in 7. Khris Middleton being out of the entire series due to injury is a massive blow for the Bucks. I think if he was available, Milwaukee win it. But he is such a loss on both ends of the floor. And Giannis isn’t going to have enough to power the Bucks to the conference finals. They are the defending champions though, so I am not going to say that Boston will have it easy. I think this goes 7 games and right down to the wire.