Analyzing The 2017 NBA Playoffs Second Round Expert Predictions
Boston Celtics vs. Washington WizardsWhile I initially thought the Washington Wizards could win this series to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, that’s certainly not the case for me anymore. You see, the Celtics are playing with some newfound fortitude and have clearly been galvanized by the recent death of star point guard Isaiah Thomas’ sister Chyna. Boston rolled all over Washington in their 123-111 Game 1 win as Thomas scored a game-high 33 points and the C’s got some nice contributions from Avery Bradley, Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk.
While the Wizard got 27 points from Bradley Beal and 20 point and 16 assists from John Wall, the Wizards don’t play very good defense as evidence by the fact that the C’s shot a blistering 51.1 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from beyond the arc. In the end, the Celtics will win and advance to the conference finals, mostly because the Wizards don’t play much defense.
Pick: Boston in 7
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto RaptorsLeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers throttled DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors in their 116-105 win in Game 1 of their conference semifinals matchup on Monday and all that did was to reinforce my belief that Toronto has absolutely no chance to dethrone the Cavs a conference champs.
James torched the Raptors for a game-high 35 points while adding 10 rebounds in the win. More importantly, the Cavs never gave up the 12-point led they had after one quarter while delivering a message to Toronto that they have no chance to win this series. The Cavs will win and advance in no more than six game, but more likely, 5.
Pick: Cleveland in 5
Golden State Warriors vs. Utah JazzI’ve got to give the Utah Jazz (55-34 U, 41-44 ATS) some ‘mad props’ for their statement-making first round upset of the Los Angeles Clippers. Utah put on a stupendous performance in their 104-91 Game 7 rod win against Chris Paul and company and come into their semifinal showdown against the Dubs with the league’ top-ranked defense (96.8 ppg).
Unfortunately for the Jazz, Golden State (71-15 U, 43-40 ATS) look like a team intent on reaching the NBA Final for the third straight season after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. The Dubs recorded three of their four wins by double digits with one victory coming by a whopping 29 points in Game 2 and another by 25 points in Game 4. More importantly, Golden State ranked first in scoring (115.9 ppg) while also finishing the regular season ranked first in field goal defense (43.5%) and first in three-point defense (32.4%).
The Warriors have three players that average over 22.0 points per game in Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and another all-star in do-it-all forward Draymond Green (10.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.4 bpg) while the Jazz ranked an uninspiring 28th in scoring (100.7 ppg), although they shoot it very well in ranking ninth in field goal shooting percentage (46.6%) and three-point field goal percentage (37.2%). Golden State won two of three against Utah in the regular season and should dispatch the Jazz in five games at most.
Pick: Golden State in 5
San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston RocketsI aid it like, 10 time before the series started, but if you don’t know, Kawhi Leonard and the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs look like they could be in trouble against James Harden and the third-seeded Houston Rockets after getting blown out 126-99 in Game 1. Houston averaged a stupendous 115.3 points per game in the regular season to rank second to Golden State in scoring, but also gave up a whopping 109.6 points per game defensively to rank an uninspiring 26th in points allowed.
The Spurs (65-23 SU, 45-41-2 ATS) went 31-10 at home during the regular season and an impressive 30-11 on the road while finishing the regular season ranked a respectable 14th in scoring (105.3 ppg) and a phenomenal second in points allowed. San Antonio has an MVP-caliber superstar in forward Kawhi Leonard (25.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 spg), but former all-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has looked like a hell of the player the Spurs acquired just over a year ago.
While Harden (29.1 ppg, 11.2 apg, 8.2 rpg) is clearly the straw that stirs Houston’s drink, the Rockets have an insane five other players that average double figures in scoring in veterans, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza and young big man Clint Capela, not to mention four more players that all averaged just over 9.0 points per contest in Patrick Beverley, Nene and youngsters Montrezl Harrell and Troy Williams.
An Antonio may have won three of four during the regular season against Houston, but three of those game were decided by six points or less with two being decided by an identical two points. Again, I think the Spurs are in trouble.
Pick: Houston in 6