The second round of the NBA playoffs is upon us. Well not completely, but most of the bracket has been established. The expectation is that the excitement that the first round has provided us will be more exhilarating as the top teams have advanced and no surprises have occurred. One of the series remaining undecided at this time is the Jazz vs Nuggets which many did not expect to go seven games but not many are surprised either. Also, the Rockets vs Thunder series is set for a game 7 but not only did I not expect this game to go even 6 games but I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Rockets swept the Thunder. Let’s begin with the second round and I will include the winners of the undecided series in the previews.
Heat vs Bucks
Tonight is already underway. At this current time, the Bucks are leading the Heat mid 3rd 73-70. Middleton leads all scorers with 23 pts and 6 ast while Dragic is leading the Heat with 21. In my opinion, this comes down to the stars. Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Jimmy Butler. The role players on these teams cancel each other out. George Hill is an inconsistent scorer, Goran Dragic is only a scorer, Bam Adebayo is a good player but not a game-changer. I know that some have picked Miami to upset the Bucks, but the combination of Giannis, Kris Middleton, and Brook Lopez will trump whatever the Heat throws out.
I pick the Bucks in 6.
Celtics vs Raptors
I know that the Raptors are a great story. Last year’s NBA champion, lost the Finals MVP to free agency, came back to make the playoffs and swept the Nets in the first round. End of story. Pascal Siakam is not a star yet. Fred VanVleet? The Raptors are a gritty team with great chemistry. They have Siakam, Kyle Lowry, and Serge Ibaka as their leaders. Marc Gasol is old, Lowry is overrated, Norman Powell is streaky, and after that, they just don’t have the starters to match with Boston or the Stars. They will make it a series as the Celtics tend to play down to competition now and then.
Celtics in 6.
Clippers vs Jazz or Nuggets
What an epic series between the Jazz and Nuggets. The deciding game seven will ultimately come down to Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell. I pick the Nuggets because if Spida Mitchell doesn’t continue to have big games who else comes through for the Jazz? The Nuggets have Michael Porter Jr. Nikola Jokic, hey even Paul Millsap can put up big numbers. I like the Nuggets stars to show up against the Jazz and I also give them a slight chance against the Clippers.
Now hear me out. I actually wrote this article an hour ago saying that neither team has any chance against the Clippers. The Nuggets, too soft, the Jazz, not enough offensive firepower, however, the Clips haven’t been the Clips as of lately. Lou Williams, Paul George and the cast have not exactly dominated. It took them 6 games to beat the 7th seeded Mavs, whose second star played only 10 quarters of basketball. That could have been an aberration but the Nuggets have way more weapons than the Mavs. If the Clippers don’t play defense the way they have been known too, this could get very interesting.
It will come down to physically and protecting the rim. The Clippers had a hard time guarding Luka, and they won’t be able to just let one person on the Nuggets score and try to take everyone else away. They will have to play them straight up and Denver can hurt anyone from the perimeter.
Still, my better judgment says Clips in 6.
Lakers vs Rockets or Thunder
Here’s how this is going to play out. LeBron James will be rested. He will come out during game one as the facilitator. Anthony Davis will play well, and if the role players play decent they may win. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will come out gunning, might even steal game 1. In-game 2, playoff mode LeBron shows up, drops 27, 11, and 10, AD plays well, Danny Green hits a couple of big shots, and if JaVale McGee doesn’t play well Dwight Howard does, if Alex Caruso doesn’t play well, J.R. Smith does. Kyle Kuzma will be steady.
Lakers roll in 5.
Editors note: Those are Tony’s picks, what are yours? We want to hear from you! Let us know who you think will win by clicking here.
Tony is a passionate sports writer and former youth sports coach. He has written for remote writer jobs, that game talk, and lewriter pro.