We’re at that time again where there is only 4 teams left… 2 in the east, 2 in the west. I wouldn’t say we’re at a point where most people saw these 4 teams coming. However, I do think that most people could have predicted a good possibility of seeing 2 of the 4 in the finals. Miami is one of those teams. They have dominated in the playoffs thus far to no one’s surprise. They dropped game 1 against the Bulls, whether it was rust or just the Bulls showing what they got after winning a game 7. But for Miami to win the next 4 pretty easily is a testament to how they have played all year.
The other team most people basically figured being in the finals was the San Antonio Spurs. For years people would say, “The Spurs? Their boring, I don’t want to see them win it all”. Well they are always in contention and always with the same group of guys. Led by the strong head coach Pop, they have the same core with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. They always seem to be banged up, yet always seem to be in contention to advancing to the finals. Without further adieu, lets proceed to the predictions for this round.
#1 Miami Heat
#3 Indiana Pacers
2nd round outcome: Miami over Chicago in 5. Indiana over New York in 6.
2nd round prediction: Miami in 5. New York in 7.
Analysis: I was dead on with Miami beating Chicago in 5, however I did think it would happen differently. I figured Chicago would oust one game at home, but never did I imagine they would beat Miami in the first game of a series being it was on the road. They ran out of energy and basically ran out of healthy bodies. Some of those games where Chicago was hitting 25-35% in the games weren’t all Miami’s stifling defense, but also part of it was Chicago just basically ailing. The lack of the return of Derrick Rose didn’t help, but even if he came back it wouldn’t have helped. Wade is still ailing for the Heat, but even with him on the sidelines, Miami is the strong favorite. On the other side of things, I did predict the Knicks to advance in 7 games, but I’m not surprised they bowed out after 6. Like I’ve said previously in my last post, the Knicks looked vulnerable in the first round against Boston, so against a defensive-solid team in Indiana, if NY struggled, I wondered where they would get their scoring from. When NY dropped a game at home I knew they would have problems as Indiana is pretty good at home.
I am a little happy that this happened because I felt the Knicks would have gotten swept or at least lost in 5 against Miami. I’m not quite sure if it will be any different for the Pacers, but when Miami had that incredible streak during the regular season I told a friend that I thought the only team in the East that had a shot at killing Miami was Indiana. Indiana plays a style of defense (and offense) that can put any person to sleep. It’s not the most exciting, but it gets the job done. They have the most unlikeliness of players to step up and get the job done. There are always games where Indiana only seems to barely hit 80 points (if that) and I’m sure there may be a game like that against Miami. But I think Indiana has the possibility to wear down Miami and not make it as easy. Or at least we can hope. All most people want is Miami losing or just having them driven to the brink. I’m not gutsy enough to gamble on it though.
Prediction: Miami over Indiana in 5.
#2 San Antonio Spurs
#5 Memphis Grizzlies
2nd round outcome: Memphis over Oklahoma City in 5. San Antonio over Golden State in 6.
2nd round prediction: Memphis in 5. San Antonio in 6.
Analysis: Not to toot my own horn, but I nailed the western games, did I not? Lets touch on Memphis first. I could have been easily wrong in this series and not saying the OkC could have won, because I still think they had no chance without Westbrook. I think Memphis should have swept OkC, and they would have if they didn’t blow a lead late in game 1. The Thunder kept all games close and made Memphis work for everything and that will benefit the Grizzlies in this upcoming series. Forget about the seeding for Memphis and think about the team they are. They have beaten the Clippers with 4 straight wins and they have beaten the Thunder with 4 straight wins. Regardless of injuries, that’s impressive for any team to accomplish in the post season. If there is a team that can beat the Spurs, its the Grizzlies. In fact, they’ve done it before a few years back when Memphis was an 8 seed and the Spurs were the 1. They shocked NBA fans everywhere and now they look to do it again. In ways, I hope they do win and advance, because if they play Miami in the finals, it would be the best match up by far.
Now for San Antonio. They brushed off a hot team in Golden State in 6 games. It probably went to more games than they expected, but the Spurs proved they can beat a hot team, they will not be intimidated, they can run with younger teams, and they can win big games on the road. The Warriors were plagued with injuries with a banged up Curry and David Lee out for the series, but not sure how much gas they would have with them healthy. The first 2 games really burned out the Warriors. The Warriors had a lead game 1 and blew it late, went to several OTs and couldn’t get the win. Golden State outplayed San Antonio handedly in the first 2 games and both were on the road. They had their chances to get their leg up, but you miss those chances, San Antonio will make you pay. They are a solid team and there’s nothing I can say that will be a surprise to anyone. This series is a crap shoot. It can go either way. This is the way I’m going with a hunch.
Prediction: Memphis over San Antonio in 6.
There you have it. I’m looking into seeing Miami against Memphis in the Finals. That would make the most interesting NBA Finals to see, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the Spurs instead. I would be completely shocked if we see Indiana there.