Conference Semi-Finals Preview and Predictions
The first round of the playoffs brought a plethora of excitement to NBA fans across the country. From upsets to injuries we saw it all in the past two weeks and now we are entering the Conference Semis with some unpredictable faces. The power in the West seems to have shifted now that Westbrook is sidelined until next year and while the Heat still remain everybody’s favorite, there are a few teams that are looking to rock the boat. With 5 out of 8 correct first round picks, I am now going to try and go a perfect 4 for 4 for the Semis.
As I predicted, the Heat ran over the lowly Bucks for an easy sweep. While the Bulls won’t provide the same simplicity that Milwaukee did, Miami should have no problem making it to the next round but I don’t feel that this series will end in a sweep. I am predicting that the Bulls will squeeze out a meaningless game 4, a la the Knicks last season, but inevitably the Heat will prevail in 5. Lebron is too good and Rose is too injured.
Prediction: Heat 4-1
I am very proud that my Knicks are finally in the second round again but they are running into arguably the best defense in the Playoffs. Indiana and the Knicks provided the NBA with some of the best playoff series through the 90’s. Who could forget Miller’s heroics or LJ’s 4-point play. It’s safe to say that these two teams hate each other. Melo has a lot to prove if the Knicks are truly competing for a Title. Paul George and Indiana pose a lot of threats to the Knicks and I feel this series will be extremely tight throughout. That being said, the Knicks should be meeting the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Prediction: Knicks 4-2
I might have predicted this match up to be the Clippers vs Thunder but I feel that the Grizz will make it a much more enticing series. It was heartbreaking to see Westbrook get injured the way he did, but let’s not forget who the Thunder belongs too; he’s known as the Durantula! Durant can score and Memphis can defend. The Clippers found out first hand how tough the Grizzlies can be when they are on top of their game. A lot of analysts are writing the Thunder off with Russel being out but I don’t necessarily see it that way. The Thunder are more of a playoff-seasoned team and while this match up will probably be a lot harder without Westbrook, they will still come out on top.
Prediction: Thunder 4-3
I have to apologize to the Spurs for even questioning their ability to trounce the Lakers. San Antonio handled their business with class and ease and now they have the luxury of facing the young and hyped Golden State Warriors. In what has to be the biggest upset of the first round, Mark Jackson led his talented cast of neophytes over the starless Denver Nuggets only to have the Spurs waiting for them in round 2. Outside of my Knicks, there is no team I enjoy watching more than the Warriors, but with Duncan and Parker on the top of their games the Warriors don’t stand a shot of the Conference Finals.
Prediction: Spurs 4-1