1) Detroit Pistons vs. 4) Cleveland Cavaliers
Well, we saw Detroit dominate Game 1, but that didn't influence my pick. None of the games will be that big of blowouts, as I don't even think it's possible for Detroit to shoot that well. But right now, Cleveland is not nearly good enough to hang with the Pistons. They are good enough, I think, to steal 1 game like the Bucks did in round 1, but that's about it. PISTONS IN 5.
2) Miami Heat vs. 3) New Jersey Nets
A matchup that was hyped a lot before the playoffs began, but it lost a little bit of its luster when both teams struggled a bit in round 1. Still, both are very talented, and it should make for an entertaining series. Chicago made Miami look old in the first round, and New Jersey has that fast break capability as well. The key will be whether VC will still play aggressive after a hard foul or two from Udonis Haslem, and who Jason Kidd guards. If Kidd is ever forced to guard Dwyane Wade, that's a big matchup problem for the Nets. My guess, Wade carries them enough to keep it close, and the Big Fella does enough to push the Heat over the top. HEAT IN 7.
1) San Antonio Spurs vs. 4) Dallas Mavericks
This has been said about a million times, but it's a shame these teams have to meet in round 2 instead of the Conference Finals. If Game 1 is any indicator, we're going to be seeing a lot of these things:
- Manu Ginobili acting like he's been hit by a truck after any type of contact.
- Bruce Bowen doing everything but giving Dirk Nowitski a clothesline to stop him defensively.
- Tim Duncan showing again and again why he is one of the top PF of all-time.
- Dirk Nowitski being forced to bring out his full repertoire against Bruce Bowen, and firmly establishing himself (if he hasn't done so already) as one of the top 5 players in the NBA.
2) Phoenix Suns vs. 6) Los Angeles Clippers
Very intriguing series, because the Clippers big men are a little more skilled than the Lakers big men were, and because Sam Cassell will be smart enough to realize that you absolutely can't play the Suns pace. So look for Brand to put up huge numbers in this series. But I think Phoenix' young players matured a bit in the first round. Leandro Barbosa was great at the end of the series, Boris Diaw was great, and James Jones started to play well. My only concern is Nash's ankle, but I think that will be well enough for Phoenix to get in their game, and for Barbosa and Diaw to keep playing well. SUNS IN 7.