Time for round 2 of the NBA Playoffs. Round 1 did not disappoint. 4 exciting series, a couple surprises, and two favorites have prevailed. The Chicago Bulls struggled due to injuries to star PG Derrick Rose and big man Joakim Noah and the 76ers took advantage of those injuries aketo t the series in 6 games. The Miami Heat steamrolled through the New York Knicks in 5 games. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade led the Heat to their victories over the valiant effort of Carmelo Anthony. The Boston Celtics fought off a tough Atlanta Hawks team in 6 games. KG, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo all stepped up big throughout the series to help push the Celts forward. Lastly, the Indiana Pacers took down the Orlando Magic in 5 games. Danny Granger was big throughout the series as Dwight Howard began to dwindle, truly showing he wants to get out of Orlando.
I am excited for these Round 2 playoff games. Competitive, physical, and exciting are the only ways to describe these next 7 game series, as the Celtics take on the 76ers, and the Heat take on the Pacers.
Miami Heat (2) vs. Indiana Pacers (3)
This Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers series looks to be as exciting a series as we will see. One great thing we will see from both of these teams is the physicality they both bring to the floor. Both teams have certain strengths and certain weaknesses. The Pacers have the great ability to go to the line which will help them, due to the fact that the Heat are small. The Heat often do not play a true center and their big men are all generally undersized. Bosh, Haslem and Anthony all have the ability to guard other positions and are easier to guard for opposing teams big men. The Pacers may struggle with the Heats superb transition offense. It will be hard to stop the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade when they both get a full head of steam. Athletically, I don’t think the Pacers are going to be able to match up with the Heat and that could be their biggest downfall. But, hopefully the Pacers bigs, Roy Hibbert and Lou Amundson, can control the paint which may keep the Heat from getting out in transition.
As great as this series looks, I just don’t see the Pacers taking this one. The Heat are too strong and athletic for them.
- Heat in 6
Boston Celtics (4) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (8)
The Celtics had a rough and tough series against the Hawks and the 76ers had it much easier than that. The 76ers caught some big breaks as Bulls star Derrick Rose and their big man Joakim Noah both went down with injuries, and they took full advantage. This series looks to be a rough, grind it out, type of series. These teams are defensive minded teams and we may be begging for a 15 second shot clock by the time this is over. The Celtics and Sixers can be good offensively, but most of the time, they defer to defense and the offense invariably suffers. Paul Pierce will be fighting through an MCL sprain in his right knee, and the Celtics are just fighting against Father Time. The 76ers are a younger, maybe even more athletic team, that could give the C’s some problems. KG will yet again be the X-Factor for the Celtics. As he goes, the Celtics go. The Celtics will have home-court advantage. They will be favored, as befits a No. 4 seed playing a No. 8 seed. But the Celtics have no reason to think this series will be any easier than what they just endured against the Hawks. It is going to be a certifiable meat grinder. We can start by putting the regular-season results in the circular file. They just don’t matter. There were only three meetings — and all of them were decided by 13 or more points. Philly won one game by 32 and the Celtics’ lone win was by 24. Expect these games to be much, much closer.
- Celtics in 6