Crystal Ball Look at the 2nd Round of NBA Play-offs

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With the first round of the NBA Playoffs in the books, here’s how I see the conference semifinals going down:

East Region

#1 Miami Heat vs. #5 Chicago Bulls

The only storyline in this matchup will be whether the Bulls can pull off even one win. The Heat didn’t even have to play to full strength against a Milwaukee Bucks team who quite frankly weren’t overly terrible. The Heat were just that good in winning each of the four games by double digits. Lebron is the best player on this planet and the Bulls offense isn’t consistent enough to put together a performance worthy of winning a game. If Derrick Rose does make a surprise appearance, the Bulls have a shot at a game or two and yet that’s a stretch in my opinion.

Best Bet: If possible take the Heat to sweep the series, they are playing championship basketball.

Final Verdict: Heat in four, they’re a ridiculous 41-2 over their last 43 games.

#2 New York Knicks vs. #3 Indiana Pacers

The Pacers stole game one with their ruggish thuggish defense as the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith combined to shoot an awful 14-of-43 from the field. The Pacers have quite possibly the best defense in the league, but it’s not always consistent and the Knicks have shown they can light it up. If any series is going to go seven games, I would pick this one because each and every game will be decided by tempo.

Best Bet: Take the home team straight up in each of the six remaining games. The Knicks and Pacers are great in their backyards as they combined to go 61-21 at home during the regular season.

Final Verdict: Pacers in seven (even though it contradicts my best bet)

West Region

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #5 Memphis Grizzlies

In game one, Kevin Durant did what everyone knew he could do. The second best player in the NBA was utterly fantastic while pouring in 35 points, 15 rebounds and a crafty six assists. The Grizz attempted to lock-down on the rest of the team, but it wasn’t enough as the Durantula drained a shot with 11 seconds left. Serge Ibaka will be the x-factor in the series as they Thunder badly need his offense and solid defense against Memphis big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies defense will make this series tough for the number one seed.

Best Bet: Take the Grizzlies to win the series as a nice value bet. (They have a realistic shot if Mike Conley plays well)

Final Verdict: Grizzlies in seven

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #6 Golden State Warriors

There’s only one reason the Warriors fended off a better team in the Denver Nuggets and his name is Stephen Curry. The gangly sharp-shooter is doing things that I’ve never seen done by anyone in the NBA. The miracle story ends in San Antonio though because the Warriors have no way of matching up with the depth that the Spurs have. Mark Jackson has done an unbelievable job with Golden State, but Andrew Bogut and Carl Landry aren’t going to cut it down low in this series.

Best Bet: Pick the Spurs to win against the spread because the Warriors are helped by actually going 2-1 against San Antonio during the regular season. With David Lee not entirely healthy for the Warriors, this is a fantastic matchup for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs.

Final Verdict: Spurs in five


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