Welcome back! The AD report is back with round 2 of NBA playoff tossup. For the East and West, I shall give you all my predictions on the latest playoff series per round. Just like in round one, I will follow the same format when making my picks. Hopefully, I continue my undefeated streak. As I am 8-0 so far in my picks! So to get started with Warriors/Blazers.
(1) Golden State Warriors 73-9 vs. (5) Portland Trailblazers 44-38Steph Curry will miss some time due to an MCL sprain he suffered during round one against the Houston Rockets. However, seeing how Game 1 turned out involving the Dubs and the Blazers, Curry might not be needed. Klay Thompson (37 points), Draymond Green (23/11/13), and the whole supporting cast stepped up big time and at one point, the Warriors held a 26 point lead. Now obviously I think Portland will play better from here on out. After all, they have one of the best backcourts in the league and one of the best head coaches in Terry Stotts. However, not much good will come out of Dame and McCollum going 13-43, Miles Plumlee going 0-7 with one point, or Ed Davis getting into foul trouble. Portland has to hope for improved play on both ends of the floor if they want to have a fighting shot. Otherwise, Curry or not, this will end quickly. Warriors in 5
(2) San Antonio Spurs 67-15 vs. (3) Oklahoma City Thunder 55-27The Spurs, like the Warriors, made quick work of the Thunder on Saturday night. While I do not think game one is indicative of the whole series, I do think San Antonio should take care of this team. Durant and Westbrook are the league’s best duo but even they are no match for this well rounded Spurs team which historically, yield one of the best defenses of all time. This series should highlight many of the problems OKC has. The lack of talent surrounding Russ and KD, poor coaching tactics from Billy Donovan, Serge Ibaka’s downfall, the 4th quarter meltdowns (highlighted by KD’s turnovers & Russ’s poor shot selection), the list goes on. The Spurs can and will exploit those issues and if OKC can’t get a grip soon, I don’t see this going far. Spurs in 6
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers 57-25 vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks 48-34A rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals which ended in a sweep. Now will a sweep happen again? I would like to think that won’t be the case. While Atlanta yields the second best defensive rating in the league behind the Spurs, they struggle to score. Their team shooting numbers against Boston were quite subpar (although to be fair, they did play against a stout defensive unit in the Celtics). Struggling to score is not a problem for the Cavs though, especially from deep. They rank 2nd behind the Spurs in three PT percentage this postseason. They also don’t turn the ball over as much. As they lead this postseason in least amount of turnovers. Cleveland is clicking at the right time and LeBron getting as much rest as possible is something he’d be interested in so I think this series will be short. Cavs in 5
(2) Toronto Raptors 56-26 vs. (3) Miami Heat 48-34
The Raptors escaped the Pacers and the Heat got away from the Hornets in which both series ended in seven games. Toronto won their 2nd playoff series in their 21 year history while the Heat won their first series since the departure of LeBron two years ago. When you look at a few matchups between the two, Miami has the edge in the backcourt. Dwyane Wade has turned the clock back a few years and Goran Dragic is coming off of a great game 7. Lowry and DeRozen however, are both shooting near 30% and well below 20% from three. In terms of the frontcourt, Whiteside, Deng, and Johnson have all been doing quite well this postseason. As for Toronto, it’s been more of a mixed bag. Valanciunas has been fun to watch however. And in terms of coaching Erik Spoelstra has not received a lot of credit for how he has done this season in terms of adjustments and rotations. Dwane Casey tends to ride or die with his guys (such as Ross/DeRozen) sometimes and if it has not caught up with him now, it will later. Maybe the playoff jitters have moved past Toronto now and they’ll fare better this time around as opposed to round one. They have the talent and pieces (especially with their energy off the bench) to move on to the ECF, but Wade and company aren’t push overs and if the team’s inconsistent shooting and lapses on defense continues, it could be ugly. Heat in 6
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