Round Two is here!
Raptors (1) vs Cavs (4)
Honestly, I’m still annoyed the Cavs made it out of the first round, but whatever.
So, the Raptors rolled over the Wizards to the second round. The Cavs fought their way to the second round. The Raptors are playing significantly better than the Cavs. It’s as simple as that.
The Cavs, in Game 7, escaped with a four point win over the Pacers, and that was with LeBron playing a full 48 minute game. So, you’re telling me, the Cavs need LeBron to play a full game against a team who is definitely good, but is not even close to how good the Raptors are? The Raptors are playing with a better coaching staff and more starpower than the Pacers. They are just simply better.
Here’s how the math works out:
Cavs + Pacers = Game 7 win for Cavs
Raptors > Pacers
Raptors + Cavs = Raptors win
The math just doesn’t add up to a series win for the Cavs. Can the Cavs win some of the games against the Raptors? Sure. But, can they win the series. No.
Raptors in 6
Celtics (2) vs 76ers (3)
Yes, yes, I know I’m biased. This one is really hard. I believe in the Celtics, but I also know the Sixers are playing better right now.
The Sixers are coming out to be the clear favorites in this series, but the Celtics are a team that can give them a run for their money.
The Celtics injury struggle continues as Jaylen Brown (Celtics leading scorer in Round 1) as been ruled doubtful for Game 1, but has injuries stopped them this season? The Celtics need to come energized and not start the game flat, especially with some guys missing. If Boston can’t do that, then they will lose.
The home crowd for both teams are scary (I’m talking about you Kevin Hart and Meek Mill) and this has spurred the Celtics on in the first round. The Celtics were 4-0 at home in round one (and 0-3 on the road). They have the potential to make things happen at home, but can they steal a win on the road is the question. The Sixers, I think, are too good to lose at home. Both teams have players who feed off of the crowd (Embiid and Smart), so it will be hard to take a win for either team on the road. The Celtics also have home court, so I’m hoping this will help them get some much needed wins. The team who can prove themselves on the opponent’s court, will win the series.
I think the Sixers can get that road win, even if it is in Game 7.
It pains me to do this, but…
Sixers in 7 (7 games might be stretching it a little though)
Rockets (1) vs Jazz (5)
Could this be an interesting series. Maybe. The Jazz have proved themselves. Donovan Mitchell have proved themselves. Now they have to continue to prove they are a contender by playing, in my opinion, the best team in the league.
No Ricky Rubio for the Jazz. He has really sparked this offense and helped them progress through the season. The Jazz have adapted without Rubio before, but against this fast-paced Rockets offense who can score as they please, will be hard. Donovan Mitchell, Gobert, and Ingles are going to have to take some responsibility here and use their minutes well.
The Jazz also have the best defense against the league. The best defense against the best offense could get interesting. But, the Rockets also do have a pretty good defense, so the Jazz will need to step up their game in every way possible.
Both teams have the starpower and coaching, but Utah is going to need time to feel out Houston and adapt to a different style of play.
Rockets in 6
Warriors (2) vs Pelicans (6)
See now this series could be interesting.
The Pelicans have two GREAT defenders in Rondo and Holiday. They were able to limit Lillard and McCollum throughout the first round. Although, guarding Curry and Klay Thompson is little different. They need to step up their level of defense if they want to hinder Curry and Thompson’s play.
New Orleans is coming in hot and so are the Warriors. The Warriors get a 100% Curry with no rust, then it’s all over. But, the Pelicans need to take advantage of the time they have without playing against Curry and get some wins. If they can’t win on the road, early in the series, they have no chance and since I think they can’t do exactly this, I don’t believe the Pelicans can win this series.
Warriors in 5