Aside from the Heat-Hornets barnburning series which decides the Pacers' next victim....the 2nd round is set. Already, there are 3 heavy weight bouts on the card. None bigger than the matchup of the two teams that have won the past 5 NBA Titles....the Spurs and Lakers.
SPURS V LAKERS: These teams will meet in the playoffs for the 5th time in the last 6 seasons. Both teams have won twice, with the winner going on to win the championship. Of all the previous matchups....this one seems to really feel like the biggest. Can the Lakers defend the Spurs' pick and roll? Can Tony Parker keep Gary Payton from posting him up and actually contributing? Who will miss the bigger FT, Shaq or Duncan? Will Kobe take his matchup with Bowen personally as he did a year ago? My take is Spurs in 7.
WOLVES V KINGS: The Wolves struggled at times with the Nuggs, but got the job done. The Kings struggled with the Mavs, but won the series in surprising quickness. The biggest matchup is obviously.....Cassell v Bibby. What, did you think I'd say Webber/KG?? KG should get his 25 pts, 14 rbs and 6 ast. But it is what Cassell and Bibby do, or don't do, that will get their respective teams into the WCF. What about Peja v Spree. Injuries are also a factor, with Wally World and Bobby Jackson both currently on the sidelines. Wolves in 6.
PISTONS V NETS: A great defense against a fast breaking offense. The Pistons did a pretty good job slowing down the Bucks in Rnd 1. And I expect them to do the same with the Nets. It's not so much they will shut the Nets down, as much as they will limit their transition hoops, which Jersey lives off of. The rebounding of the Pistons will GREATLY limit those opportunities. Also, what a great matchup of K-Mart and Ben Wallace. Also, I'm running a pool of who will get T'd first, Martin or Sheed. Also, hard will Wallace knock Jefferson down as he tries to receive an alley-oop? Pistons in, yes, 5.
PACERS V HEAT/HORNETS: Indiana has been off for, what, a month now? The Heat/Hornets series has all the makings of going the distance....so I don't see any way they can be any competition to the Pacers. Indiana sweep.