The NBA Playoffs didn’t disappoint in the first round as a lot of matches came down to the wire, however there was a fair share of blowouts too. As we enter the second round the contests will get closer and a lot of teams are plagued by injuries which only makes it harder to predict which team will come out on top. Continue reading for our NBA Playoffs Round 2 preview and predictions of each series.
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Golden State Warriors (1) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5)
The Warriors were a dominant force in the opening round and were only really challenged in game three of the series. That game was able to produce more positives for the Warriors than negatives. Down by 20 points at the end of the third quarter the Warriors fought back and a huge three pointer by Curry sent the game to overtime before proving too strong.
The biggest thing for the Grizzlies will be their perimeter and transition defence. Unfortunately for them, it was where they lacked during the regular season. The Warriors will thrive off of this and if the Grizzlies can’t find a way to slow them down then they will be no match for them.
Starting point guard Mike Conley will also miss the opening two games through injury, which is a massive blow for the Grizzlies.
The key match up will be between the Memphis’s best player Marc Gasol and the Warriors big man Andrew Bogut. If the Australian is able to restrict Gasol’s involvement and also produce enough on offence to allow Curry and Klay Thompson some space, then the Warriors will be off to the Conference Finals.
TIP: Golden State Warriors 4-1 @ $2.75 with Sportsbet
Houston Rockets (2) vs Los Angeles Clippers (3)
The Rockets will be well rested when they come up against the Clippers who were forced to play all seven games in what could be one of the greatest first round series of all time. Chris Paul is also in doubt for at least the opening game after injuring his hamstring in their game 7 victory, however he was able to play on in that match and also scored the match-winning shot.
Blake Griffin will be relied upon massively to take advantage of Josh Smith and Terrence Jones. He put up monster numbers across the board against the Spurs and will need to be even better to topple the Rockets.
The key match up will be between Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan. The two big men will be relied upon by their teams to crash the boards and defend the rim and whoever manages to do this better will put their team a step ahead of the other on the road to the conference finals.
If Chris Paul is able to return early in the series and be as effective as he normally is, the Clippers should be able to prove too strong throughout the series.
TIP: Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 @ $5.10 with Sportsbet
Atlanta Hawks (1) vs Washington Wizards (5)
The Hawks and Wizards had total opposite first rounds. The Hawks were meant to be the dominant number one seed but it took them five and a half games before they played that way. Whilst the Wizards started with a bang and didn’t look like slowing down as they swept the Raptors.
John Wall will be the key to this series as he will need to be at his best if the Wizards are any chance of an upset. The point guard had a breakout round as he averaged 17.3 PPG and a monster 12.5 APG. If he can conjure up these sort of numbers again then we will be in for an entertaining series.
TIP: Atlanta Hawks 4-2 @ $5.50 with Sportsbet
Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs Chicago Bulls (3)
The Cleveland Cavaliers made easy work of the Boston Celtics in the first round as they swept them rather convincingly. However, the biggest thing to come out of the series was the loss of Kevin Love for the rest of the season after his shoulder was dislocated by Kelly Olynyk in game 4. The burning question will be can Lebron James steer the Cavs to victory over the Bulls without one member of the “big 3”.
In my opinion, yes, James has enough pieces around him to deal with the loss of Love and push past the Bulls in this round. However, whether they will be able to do it is another story.
The Bulls were looking dominant as they raced to a 3-0 lead against the Bucks but they were forced to a game 6, which is not beneficial for point guard Derrick Rose. He was able to come out of the series fine and at stages he showed glimpses of the form that saw him named the MVP of the league only a few short seasons ago.
The loss of Love for the series and also 6th man J.R Smith for the first two games through suspension will be enough to see this series go to the Bulls.
TIP: Chicago Bulls 4-2 @ $6.55 with Sportsbet
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!