One second round series matchup has already began in the NBA while two first round matchups finished up their series in 7 games this weekend. The first round proved once again that the NBA playoffs are the only time to watch NBA basketball but provided us drama and highlight reels that are leaving us amazed at their talent. Below are the matchups for the second round. For those of you keeping score I predicted the eastern first round matchups correct but was a little off on the West.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland dominated their opening round series sweeping the Detroit Pistons. LeBron James took over as usual and look for him to do the same in this series. Atlanta won their first playoff series since 1999 but looked vulnerable in doing so. Miami was not nearly as complete of a team as the Cavaliers and took Atlanta down to the wire. I think the Hawks will defend their home court a little here but will fall to the Cav's in 5.
Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics
This is a very intriguing matchup. If you are comparing names Boston will win, but Orlando gets a whole lot out of Courtney Lee, Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu. I think the key for Orlando is how well (or poorly) Dwight Howard plays. Boston doesn't match up well in the post with Howard and he should have his way with Perkins. But good guard play takes you a long way in the playoffs and this will help Boston. The Celtics are coming off an absolute battle with the Bulls where they played a record seven overtime periods. Look for Boston to pull it out in 7 games again.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have better talent and better depth than the Rockets which will take them a very long way in this series. A combination of Yao Ming, Luis Scola, and Ron Artest in the front court will cause some problems for Bynum and Odom. But again, the Lakers backcourt is much stronger. If Houston can get some production out of Aaron Brooks they could make it interesting but I think the Lakers will pull this out in 5.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets
We get a little early jump on this one because they have already played one game in this series with Denver beating Dallas 109-95 on Denver's home court. I am not at all surprised by the outcome and after handling New Orleans with some pretty impressive W's in the first series I think Denver will survive. Billups is the key to Denver's success and with a lot of experience on this level he can take Denver to new heights. They will work to contain Dirk which will work in the end. I will take Denver in six.