EASTERN CONFERENCE :
1. Atlanta Hawks vs 5. Washington Wizards
I frankly didn't expect the Wizards to be that dominant in the first round, but it's not that surprising when you think about it... Both teams had the same kind of season, great at first, not so good second part of the season, but the difference in the playoffs was that the Wizards suddenly woke up, and that's because of Paul Pierce.
Honestly without Paul, I'm not sure that the Wizards would have even won this series. That's how valuable he was to his team, his experience has paid off for Washington. In the first game the Raptors were doing alright and Pierce hit several important shots to wake up his team and carried his teammates to victory. Without him they would have lost that first game and who knows what would have happened then... Cause the Raptors confidence would have been much higher and they would have had an important momentum on the series.
The Raptors entirely lost their confidence in this first game, and they had no one to wake them up, not an experience veteran, or even a true go to guy (Lowry hasn't showed that he was deserving of being an All Star at all). In short they didn't have a Paul Pierce.
Meanwhile the Hawks struggled a bit against the Nets. Sure the Nets have talent, but that's basically all they got. And no one in this team is a true leader. The Hawks don't have a true go to guy either (Teague is not that guy yet, probably never will be), but they have an amazing chemistry. Which is great and definitely enough to dominate the regular season, but not enough for the playoffs...
They didn't convince me in this first round, and, now that the Wizards are awoken, I think that Paul Pierce experience can lead to the victory in this series once again. Although the Hawks are so good when they're at their best that this series can go either way... But I'm gonna go with the Wizards in this one.
Washington Wizards 4-2
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs 3. Chicago Bulls
Sure Kevin Love has struggled a bit the whole year and he's not the most important Cavs player for sure, but the Cavs will definitely miss him, especially in this series. Losing a big men against a team that is loaded with big men is never a good sign.. Besides they won't have JR Smith for two games, which could be huge giving the fact that Smith has been fantastic for Cleveland on both ends of the floor.
The Bulls have shown some good signs in the first round, they seemed to finally find their identity (just like the 2006 Heat, as a matter of fact the Heat struggled a bit the whole year and only found their identity in the playoffs), but it's still a bit early to assert that and it's against the Cavs that we're gonna see who they truly are. So far they haven't been bothered with injury, I've been quite surprised to see Rose play at this level giving the fact that he had just came back from another injury. This team is intriguing, many questions have to be answered but I think that they can win it all.
The loss of Love and of JR for two games could be devastating for the Cavs, even if they still have the best player in the world, and if the Bulls keep on playing like they did in game 6 vs Milwaukee, they're gonna be very hard to beat. I expect a long series and it honestly can go either way. But I'm gonna go with the Bulls in 6 or 7 games.
Chicago Bulls 4-2
WESTERN CONFERENCE :
1. Golden State Warriors vs 5. Memphis Grizzlies
The Warriors have won in 4 games in the first round, just like expected, but New Orleans gave them a couple of good scares which was not so expected... They got the job done nonetheless and Curry is just unbelievable.
The Grizzlies are a legit title contender but if Conley doesn't come back they stand no chance... As simple as that. And if he does come back (apparently he could even play in game 1, but there's no certainty of anything) at what level will he play ? This Conley thing is tough for the Grizz.
If Conley gets back at his best, this series can go to 7 games and the Grizzlies even stand a chance to win. It not I don't think they can win more than one game against the Warriors.
Right now I'm gonna go with the Warriors in 6.
Golden State Warriors 4-2
2. Houston Rockets vs 3. Los Angeles Clippers
I was wrong about the Clippers, I didn't think they could beat the Spurs, but I'm glad I was wrong !!!! They've been terrific, Paul is definitely up there with the very best players of the planet, and Griffin and Reddick are just amazing as well. What a great win for this team, I didn't believe in them at first but now I think that they're truly a legit ring contender.
I thought Rondo could finally show Cuban that he was right to trade for him come playoffs time... Boy was I wrong ! I don't think I ever saw such a weird situation as the one Dallas was into in this playoffs, ever before. Tough for the Mavericks, this combined with Parsons injury they stand no chance at all. Glad they won at least one game...
But I still don't believe in Houston anyhow. I said it again I don't think you can win in the playoffs with this style of play. And if the Clippers keep playing like they did in the first round (and let's hope that Paul's injury is not serious), I think that they can close this series in 5 games.
Los Angeles Clippers 4-1
Edited by Oliver P, 03 May 2015 - 02:08 PM.