#1 Chicago vs #8 Indiana
Just like I predicted, the Pacers have been frisky; it just wasn't enough to win a game in Chicago. This series has been a lot of fun to watch because of how hard the Pacers play, and the Bulls have matched that intensity. There is just such a big talent disparity, so I still cannot see the Pacers winning a game, especially with Darren Collinson being iffy for the games at Conseco. The Bulls should be concerned because they haven't looked great.
Prediction before series: Bulls in 4
Prediction after 2 games: Bulls in 4
#2 Miami vs #7 Philadelphia
Much like the Bulls/Pacers series there is such a big talent disparity. As Doug Collins said after game 2, Miami is just better, and when they play well, his team can't win. Miami is just a bad matchup for Philly. I thought the Sixers could win a game in this series, but I don't see it now.
Prediction before series: Heat in 5
Prediction after 2 games: Heat in 4
#3 Boston vs #6 New York
Two terrific games in Boston that the Celts pulled out, now the Knicks are beaten up heading home, with Billups and Stoudemire hurt. You have to wonder if the Knicks fired their two best shots in Boston. Celtics haven’t looked great, but like Chicago, they have come up big in big moments. When you are the Knicks, and you are clearly playing a superior team, you have to take advantage of the chances you get, and the Knicks haven’t done that. There is no guarantee they get the same chances down the stretch they got in Boston.
Prediction before series: Celtics in 5
Prediction after 2 games: Celtics in 5
#4 Orlando vs #5 Atlanta
Dwight Howard has been dominant through 2 games, the guys around him have been bad, and Atlanta has shot the ball well, but the series is tied 1-1. The Hawks have been content letting Howard do what he wants, and it should be interesting to see if they continue that strategy. I think I’d rather let the guys around him try and beat me. Atlanta has looked good thus far, but I don’t know if they can continue to shoot lights out.
Prediction before series: Magic in 5
Prediction after 2 games: Magic in 6
#1 San Antonio vs #8 Memphis
San Antonio didn’t have Manu Ginobli in game 1 and they lost, he was back for game 2 and they won. He should be the difference the rest of the way. I said before the series that I thought the Spurs would figure out a way to slow Zack Randolph, and they did a good job in game 2, but nobody else stepped up. The perimeter players are going to be the key for Memphis the rest of the series.
Prediction before series: Spurs in 6
Prediction after 2 games: Spurs in 6
#2 LA Lakers vs #7 New Orleans
New Orleans shocked everyone and beat LA in game 1, but despite Kobe Bryant scoring just 11 points, the Lakers evened the series. The Hornets play very good defense, and that will keep them in games, and they will force the Lakers to grind out wins, but as I said before the series, the Lakers are just a bad matchup for New Orleans. I don’t think the Hornets will win another game.
Prediction before series: Lakers in 4
Prediction after 2 games: Lakers in 5
#3 Dallas vs #6 Portland.
Dallas is up 2-0 in a series for the first time since the 2006 NBA Finals, which saw them lose four straight, but I’d be shocked if that happened in this series. Dallas has shot the ball well, and played great in the fourth quarter of both games. They have also defended great, packing everything inside, forcing Portland to hit outside shots, which they can’t do. The Blazers simply haven’t been able to get many easy shots in the half court. I’m just not sure how any of that changes for the Blazers. Their best hope is for Dallas to start missing shots. Portland is a tough place to play, and I can certainly see the series being even heading back to Dallas, but I wonder if Portland is capable of winning a game at Dallas. I’m not so sure.
Prediction before series: Blazers in 6
Prediction after 2 games: Mavericks in 5
#4 Oklahoma City vs #5 Denver
As great as game 1 was between these teams, game two was just as awful. You can argue that Denver should’ve won the first game, but they didn’t, and they didn’t back up that performance up last night. The Nuggets are deep, but they are lacking a big time scorer, and they are going up against two of them. The next two games will be all about seeing of the Thunder can win a road playoff game. They don’t need to in order to win this series, but I think they will, and it very well could vault them to a deep playoff run.
Prediction before series: Thunder in 6
Prediction after 2 games: Thunder in 5