The spirit of Miss Cleo returns for the 2nd round


I know, I know, I messed up on ONE first round series. How could I have possibly known Orlando was done in the streets like that. They were just plain WEAK. BUT, I did make up for it by picking the 8th seeded Grizzlies, to take down San Antonio so you must give me credit there. Miami, the Lakers, Chicago, and our very own Thunder did not pull off the sweeps I predicted but it was close as they each had 1 loss except for the Fakers who had 2 defeats to the lowly Hornets. Miami had the sweep wrapped up and choked, Oklahoma city should have swept but Russell Westbrook thought he was God for a game, and the Bulls finally lost 1 game, when Indiana decided not to choke for the first time in the series. The Knicks easily could have won the opening 2 games in Boston, but lost Billups for the series, and Amare’s back wouldn’t allow him to compete so they were swept. Dallas won in 6 as I thought they would and here we are at the 2nd round and I must say, all the matches are intriguing in their own right. Not much humor in the post today as this is strictly business baby. Let’s go.


#1 Chicago Bulls Vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks

We start with the least exciting matchup as the Bulls have the luxury of playing the weakest team still left in the postseason, and that’s with Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich, of course strained his hammy at the very end of the closeout game versus Orlando and is a very significant loss for the team from the city known for it’s strip clubs. He has played Derrick Rose pretty well this season defensively and is a solid shooter and playmaker. Jamal Crawford will be asked to play more minutes, and not just as a shot taker off the bench. He will have to fit in more with the starting lineup, which he is not used to doing.

Joe Johnson is not a superstar and Atlanta should have let him walk in the off season so they could have better rebuilt their franchise. However, Joe Joe is a gifted scorer, and will have to play out his mind for ATL to stand a snowball’s chance in hell against the Bulls. Another Atlanta advantage has is up front with Al Horford and Josh Smith. Big Al should be able to have his way with former college teammate Noah and one of the league’s worst defensive players, Carlos Boozer, who also happens to have turf toe right now. Smith isn’t a great shooter but is a freakish athlete and should be able to get to the rack as well as d up Luol Deng. Unfortunately, Atlanta has no answer for the league’s MVP, Derrick Rose. I might even give Smith a try on him, and just let Rose take jumpers. I know Coach Drew doesn’t want to put in Jeff Teague, as he is not ready for primetime. Rose will be huge as always and Kyle Korver will hit his usual timely 3 pointers. Bulls in 5.

#2 Miami Heat Vs. #3 Boston Celtics

Here we go! This is definitely the most anticipated matchup of the 2nd round, and quite possibly the entire playoffs. LeBron James has heard enough about the quitting accusations and how the Celtics have bounced him and the Cav’s out of the playoffs the past few seasons. I’m sure Wade is annoyed with all the questions regarding his 12.8 scoring average vs Boston this season and I’m sure Bosh is annoyed with his girlish physique but they will all be coming out to prove something. Miami needs this after all the hype surrounding their offseason acquisitions and the only way to shut up the naysayers is with a series victory. Mike Miller being out with ANOTHER thumb injury bothers me, as I keep expecting him to step up and hit big 3’s but he has failed to deliver all season so maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. Mario Chalmers is going to have to continue to play at a high level and knock down wide open trey’s along with veteran Mike Bibby. James and Wade take to many 3 pointers and they can’t settle for those in this series. If they consistently attack they will get Boston’s star players in foul trouble and control the series. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce simply are not young enough to hang with the two Heat stars. Bosh has to man up and not allow Kevin Garnett to get in his head as he seemingly always does. The Rupaul of big men is extremely skilled and when he plays well the Heat usually are victorious.

Luckily for Miami, Shaquille O’Neal is still injured and might not play at all this series. Even if he does play, I can’t imagine it being for very many minutes. If that’s the case the Heat can by with big Z and butt plug, errr, I mean spark plug, Joel Anthony at the center position. The matchup everyone is talking about is Rajon Rondo against the Heat point guards. It shouldn’t be that difficult from my perspective, as Bibby and Chalmers just need to play 10 feet off him and dare him to shoot as the Lakers did in the finals. If Rondo starts getting to the hole it could alter the entire series. Jermaine O’neal is a non factor to me but Big baby has become a quality scorer and has to be accounted for. When it’s all said and done, I think LeBron has a monster series and the Celtics glory years will be finito. Miami
in 6.


# 2 Los Angeles Lakers Vs. #3 Dallas Mavericks

This is a hard one to predict as these are both veteran teams, who’s window for a title might be closing after this season. Both teams have “length” up front with the Lakers putting out Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom and Dallas with Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, and Dirk Nowitski. It will be interesting how the matchup’s play out. Will Gasol try to cover Dirk on the perimeter or will they send constant double teams to leave open whoever is not Jason Terry. Odom matches up pretty well “length” wise with Nowitski and seems like the best man for the job but he comes off the bench so who knows. Haywood has more “girth” then Chandler and looks like a better fit to go against Bynum. If I were Dallas’ s coach Rick Carlisle, I would try out throwing Haywood and Chandler on the court at the same time and move Dirk over to small forward.

The series is probably going to hinge on how buck nasty Kobe Bryant gets. I’m sure Dallas will try an assortment of defenders on him ranging from Jason Kidd, Shaw Marion, and even DeShawn Stevenson but none seem to be a good fit whatsoever. Maybe Corey Brewer gets a shot at him if Kobster really starts getting loose. It’s also time Matt Barnes had some big performances as he is very talented and I’ve always thought very underrated. Steve Blake and Derek Fischer don’t worry me whatsoever as I think Dallas has the better bench, with Jason Terry leading the charge.

My heart wants me to pick the Mav’s and my brain is telling me to with the Lakers. Screw it, I always speak from the heart on here I’m going with Dallas in an incredible back and forth 7 game series. Let’s get the Lakers out of here, if not for my sake, then that poor girl in Colorado that he took advantage of. Keep your black mamba in it’s cage buddy! Dallas in 7!

#4 YOUR Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. #8 Memphis Grizzzzzzzlies

One would think that getting the 8th seed in the second round is a gift. Well not in this case, as Memphis is moving out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In fact, it was the first time they won a SINGLE game in the playoffs, and what better way to do it then by knocking off the number seeded team in the West? This one could get wild guys. Send the women and children over to their grandparents house and break out the wild turkey.

The key for the Thunder will be stopping the red hot, Zach Randolph. The game 6 performance he put on in the 4th quarter against the Spurs Friday night was dare I say, Kevin Durantish. Z-Bo, the bald headed nut, as they call him, came up large all series long and has a scary look in his eye. He might want to get that eye checked out by a doctor. I’d recommend Dr. Nasty for the job, as he is the possibly a matchup nightmare for Randolph. Ibaka is extremely “long” and is the best shot blocker in the league. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have guarding Z-bo other then maybe Dwight Howard. Ibaka’s defense on Randolph could be the key to the series and he will need to provide offense as well.

Memphis will be giving defensive sensei, Tony Allen, the task to try and guard Kevin Durant to start the game and Allen is no joke. He is pesky and extremely aggressive on D and could frustrate Durant throughout the series. K.D. has a significant height advantage over Tony and may be able to shoot over the top of him if the jumper is falling. If Allen doesn’t do the job the Grizz will turn to veteran Shane Battier or the youthful Sam Young, who are both long armed and solid defenders. In my opinion, Memphis might be better off putting Allen on Russell Westbrook and letting the other 2 aforementioned foot soldiers take on the job of Durant.

Mike Conley, I’m sure wants no part of Westbrook as the Thunder have a big time advantage here. Westbrook is a ball hawking defender and is well known for his reckless drives to the basket. When or if his jumper is falling he is unguardable, but nobody is unguardable for Tony Allen, which is why I made my earlier recommendation. Does that last sentence even make sense? Whatever.

Finally, a series where Kendrick Perkins will play a pivotal role. He will be asked to guard Marc Gasol and sometimes Darrell Arthur who have both showed their offensive capabilities off to the world in this postseason. Perk will have to keep them off the glass and will most likely lay down some hard fouls. I can see this series getting very chippy. I envisioned this in one of my first posts on this website after the Thunder acquired Perkins, thinking of the battle and facial expressions that will be put out there by Perk and Randolph. I almost guarantee they hate each other, and if they don’t now, they will for sure after the series. Z-Bo does it for the streeeets though, and I think it’s better that Iblocka guards him.

The final thing I will mention is that both teams have a gifted offensive player coming off the bench. James Harden for the Thunder, and O.J. Mayo for the Grizz. Harden is given a little more leeway to shoot the rock and will probably average more points in the series but don’t sleep on O.J. “da Juiceman” Mayo. Mayo should be starting for a team somewhere and is shocks me that he doesn’t play more in Memphis. He is the team’s best shooter and made some game altering plays in the Spurs series. OK City cannot let the juice man flow or it could cost them.

After saying all of that, it doesn’t look like either team has a large advantage, but the Thunder have more shooters and 2 offensive stars compared to the Grizzlies 1. This will be the most enjoyable series to watch with the Grizz putting a scare into the Ok city, but ultimately falling in 7 games. THUNDER in 6!!

On to the Western conference Finals!!!!