Now that half of the playoff teams in the NBA have been eliminated from contention, the second round is about to begin.
This round gives us several of the top seeds going up against each other and has a couple of surprises that we didn’t necessarily expect. Let’s take a look at some of the storylines coming out of the finish to the first round and the beginning of the current round of the NBA playoffs.
The Biggest Surprise: Elimination of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers
The injury bug finally took down the reigning champs as the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. It seemed that if the Lakers had been healthy during their playoff series with the Suns they might have made it past Phoenix, but injuries to Antony Davis and with a LeBron James that admitted to not being fully healthy was a recipe for disaster for the Lakers.
The Home Team Finally Won
Throughout the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers, the home team did not win a single playoff game until game seven. Once the Clippers secured the win in Game Seven they gave us a surprise by moving on to the second round. Hopefully, the Clippers won’t have as much trouble with the Utah Jazz as they did with the Mavericks, but it’s hard to predict which team will come out of this next round.
Some Second Round Games Have Been Played
As of this writing, some of the games in the next round have already been played. With some teams finishing their first round in only five games, we have some results to give us an idea of what to expect going forward. Let’s take a look at what’s already taken place.
The Hawks Took Game One from the 76ers
In a high-scoring affair that gave us a 128-124 final score, the Atlanta Hawks won the first game of the second round against the Philadelphia 76ers. Because the 76ers are the higher seed, this result means the Hawks have essentially stolen the home-court advantage from the 76ers. If the 76ers can come back and win Game 2, they will have to go on the road to play two games in Atlanta to try and get their advantage back.
Brooklyn is Already Dominating the Bucks
Will it be another disappointing finish for the Milwaukee Bucks and the reigning two-time MVP of the league? It very easily could be. The high-powered lineup of the Brooklyn Nets has already won the first two games of this second round series with a score that left no doubt as to which team was dominating. The score of Game 2 was 125-86, which left Bucks fans wondering what happened to their team.
Phoenix Won the First Game Against Denver
In a series that will go from desert to altitude throughout, the Phoenix Suns won the first game over the Denver Nuggets with a score of 122-105. Will the Suns find their way out of this series? Does Chris Paul have the team and leadership needed to make it to the next round of the playoffs? We won’t know until this series continues forward, but at least they were able to secure the first game with a win.
The Clippers and Jazz are Ready to Begin
The only series where no games have been played as of this writing is the one with the Los Angeles Clippers taking on the Utah Jazz. The Jazz have been waiting to see which team they would play as the Clippers and Mavericks worked to a Game Seven finish in the first round. Are the Clippers too tired to handle what the Jazz will throw at them or will the Jazz be rusty after resting for a few extra days?
Making Predictions for the Second Round
Once this current round of the NBA playoffs has finished, we will have only four teams left that will be playing for their respective conference titles. Which four teams will be left standing at this point? That’s what we’re going to predict right now.
• Hawks vs. 76ers –Even with the first game going to the Hawks, the 76ers should come out of this series, but the series may go seven games
• Bucks vs Nets –The Nets are likely to sweep the Bucks as they make a statement to the other teams that they are trying to win it all
• Nuggets vs. Suns –The experience of Chis Paul will carry the Suns to the Western Conference Finals, putting the Nuggets out of the playoffs in six games
• Clippers vs. Jazz –The Clippers will get it right under the leadership of Ty Lue and will win this series in seven games vs the Jazz