|Miami needed just four games to move to the|
second round while five teams needed the full
seven games to do so.
However, when you look at the aftermath ... not much is shocking. The Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Pacers and Heat are still alive. The Nets and Blazers certainly weren't shockers to advance to the second round. Neither was the Wizards, aside from the ease in which they discarded the Bulls.
So if that first round with some perceived fodder was epic, what will a second round with five teams with legit NBA title aspirations and three teams who could make a deeper run look like?
1-INDIANA PACERS vs 5-WASHINGTON WIZARDS: The Pacers were very close from being knocked right out of the playoffs quickly. Atlanta had them. But Game 7 had that look like they were ready to get back to dominating. Washington certainly looked the part of a team that could make a deep run into the playoffs. I like the Pacers experience in this one. Pacers in 6
2-MIAMI HEAT vs 6-BROOKLYN NETS: The Heat were the only team to sweep their first round opponent. While that isn't saying much against a Charlotte Bobcats team that had their best player limping along all week, both No. 1 seeds had to go the distance to oust their opponents. The Nets swept the Heat during the season which may or may not mean anything. I think Miami has bee ready for this all year long and have their eyes on a threepeat. The fact that the Heat have rested for an entire week while the Nets are coming off a 7-game series with the Raptors will hurt the older BK squad. Heat in 5
1-SAN ANTONIO SPURS vs 5-PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: The Spurs were the best team in the league all season long, but their series against Dallas may have done some damage. The Spurs still may win the title, but this thing will get tough. Portland stood toe-to-toe with the Houston Rockets and showed some real playoff swagger. LaMarcus Aldridge is showing why he needs to be placed among the elite players in this league. This should be a great series, but the Spurs again will come out on top. Spurs in 7
3-LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS vs 2-OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: I can't place my finger on it, but the Thunder are just missing something. Their series against the Grizzlies was much closer than you would've thought. Durant and Westbrook don't seem to be completely on the same page. The Clippers have had their own problems but seemed to really rally after the Donald Sterling saga reached a tentative conclusion with his banishment from the NBA. That's why I'm going with them. They seem to have a huge chip on their shoulder and, like we've seen at other points, they seem to be totally together. Clippers in 6