Yes I know that all semifinal series already had one game played each but it is not too late to try to predict what will happen from now on. But first, let’s make a quick review of what transpired in the first round.
Although my Creole heart tried to be nice with the Pelicans, as expected they didn’t have a chance against the best team in the league. Anthony Davis was great, but it was not enough.
And Wesley Matthews absence was even more definitive to the Trailblazers than I expected. Against a rather good Memphis team and Marc Gasol in a special season, they succumbed.
I got the number of games from Clippers and Spurs right, but not the outcome. I chose with my heart and got it wrong. The sum of an ageing team playing against Blake Griffin and Chris Paul at the pinnacle of their career proved fatal in game 7.
And age can also be factored in when talking about the Mavs/Rockets series. Nowitzki and Chandler are also on the twilight of their career and couldn’t cope with James Harden playing great and a rather well-trained Rockets team.
Atlanta had much more problems than what I expected against Brooklyn. The Nets managed to play decent and maybe Atlanta got a little anxious about playing in the playoffs with the second best record in the league. But even so, their “Spurs-style” collective game prevailed.
Toronto was the greatest deception of all playoffs. They were totally dominated by Washington and we actually didn’t even have a series. Of course, John Wall, Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal were great, but it turned out rather easy for them.
Kudos to Jason Kidd and the Bucks. They are a young and promising team. Jason did a great job. I thought the Bulls would crush them in four games, especially with Derrick Rose back in decent form. It was difficult, despite that massacre on game 6.
Cavaliers and Celtics were what everybody thought it would. Cleveland not only has a better team, it is also way more experienced and has LeBron, Irving and Love. The Celtics are less talented and younger. They have future, but this time the sweep was inevitable.
Alright, let’s predict the semis, then.
Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies: You know what I said about a good Memphis team with Gasol playing great? Well, that remains true, but I don’t think it will be enough to beat the Splash Brothers and the Warriors. My guess is that not even with Mike Conley coming back they have a chance. Warriors 4-1.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers: If the first game is anything to go by, then this one should be really short. The Clippers didn’t even need Chris Paul to crush the Rockets in Houston. I don’t think Harden and co. will play that bad again, but I don’t think they can compete with a Clippers team full of morale and CP3 back either. Clippers 4-1.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards: Now, here things start to get interesting. The fact that the Wizards managed to snatch one on the road may be huge for the final outcome here. Seasoned veterans like Paul Pierce will probably be of great help for the Wizards, but of course Atlanta can regain their powerful collective game as the series goes on. Difficult, but I’m going with Washington. Wizards 4-3.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls: And what do you know? The Eastern Conference turned out to be the one with the most interesting semis. The loss of J.R. Smith and Kevin Love proved to be huge for the Cavs yesterday and this can hurt them in the whole series. If Derrick Rose injury on the shoulder proves to be nothing serious, just like with the Wizards, this road win can be decisive in the series. And they also got Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler playing great. However, let’s not forget: the Cavs got LeBron. It should be fun to watch and hard fought, but I’m going with Chicago. Bulls 4-3.
See you in the Conference Finals.
Merrick – Anne Rice
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