Three fates

I guess it was fitting that I was running out of useful Queen song titles, as we're now going to round two. We now switch to ELP... not that it matters much. Yes, I know there are four teams advancing, but I only give three of them a shot to get to the Finals. Take a guess which one I'm leaving out.

Quick round one recap:

Number of winners correct = 8
Number of games correct = 5, including all four in the East.
Number of whole things correct = 5

I'm special!

Unexpected big performers: Andres Nocioni (knocked out) and Jerome James (now faces good defenders). Sort of a shame neither will be able to repeat the performance in round two. I presume others will step up, though.
Unexpected bad performer: Dirk Nowitzki (45-128 on the series from the field, 35.2%)... his destroying Houston PF's was the prediction of mine that didn't pan out at all. But it didn't turn out too badly for him, his team did advance.

#1 Miami versus #5 Washington
Miami was 2nd in offensive efficiency and 6th in defensive efficiency.
Washington was 11th in offensive efficiency and 18th in defensive efficiency.

Watching game 6 between the Bulls and Wizards made me spout a comment of, "It really doesn't matter who wins this series anyway, Miami's going to demolish them in the next round." and I stand by the comment.

- Bigs -
Washington may not have Nenad Krstic and the army of crap like the Nets, but they still can't match Miami's potent front court. Kwame Brown's never to be heard from again in DC, Haywood and Thomas's size won't be any good against Shaq and the D is too good for Jared Jeffries to accomplish much. On the other side, Miami's still got that great group of high FG% guys, even if it was on the low side last round (partially because of Shaq's questionable health). Like last round, Miami's advantage is very big, but not as huge as before.

- Littles -
It's a lot more even here. Jamison, Hughes and Arenas pack a threesome that's very Run TMC-esque and Juan Dixon is a great gunner off the bench. None of Miami's littles will be able to guard Jamison very well, but even so, they have the capabitity to hold the other two from doing too much damage. While on defense, only Hughes will be able to defend against Wade and even that will be inconsistent. Then there's Miami's two gunners in Jones and Jones, who ought to get the same numerous open looks they got during the season thanks to the big men. Also, Keyon Dooling might be able to keep up his effectiveness from the first series in this one. This area is almost even overall, so I can't give the edge to either squad. I think whoever plays better between Hughes and Wade will get their team the edge here.

Like Philly against the Pistons last round, the Wizards are volatile enough to pull out one game against the much better team. Past that... don't count on it.

Prediction: Heat in five

#2 Detroit versus #6 Indiana
Detroit was 17th in offensive efficiency and 3rd in defensive efficiency.
Indiana was 19th in offensive efficiency and 11th in defensive efficiency.

Well, here's the one they were all waiting for. Time for more brawl and bomb threat rehashes than we can shake Jonathan Bender at. Sigh.

- Bigs -
Dale Davis might be effective against Boston's lack of interior D, but the same can't be said here. Jermaine O'Neal's not going to get away with shooting like Antoine Walker in this series. Foster... well, he's equally effective. For the opposition, we know what they can do. McDyess ought to shoot better this round... if only by the fact that the first two games will be in Detroit again. Wallace and Wallace... if J-O couldn't shoot well against bad defenders Lafrentz and Walker, he's going to have a terrible time shooting against superb defenders. Pistons have this part covered.

- Littles -
Tinsley's back, but he's still dinged. I suspect he'll be back up to full speed by the time this series gets heated, despite that he has to deal with Chauncey, who is almost like Payton++. Reggie's still hot, but will have to deal with Hamilton on the other end, hurting his effectiveness. Jackson... well, he has Prince to deal with instead of Pierce. I think the Pistons the Pistons have this part covered too.

I touched on this one a while back after Marc Stein said that the rule was they had to go seven (except that was just for "this" year)... Pistons are pretty much equal to last year's team. Pacers are weaker than last year's team because they have no Artest. The series between the teams went to six last year and the Pacers were on the short end of the stick despite having home court. This all leads me to believe that it will go to a number less than six with the same winner.

Prediction: Pistons in five

#1 Phoenix versus #4 Dallas
Phoenix was 1st in offensive efficiency and 16th in defensive efficiency.
Dallas was 5th in offensive efficiency and 9th in defensive efficiency.

Here's the other one they were all waiting for. Steve Nash and company against the Mavs. I hope Dirk shoots a lot better in this series.

- Bigs -
Don't expect Dampier to get a lot of time in this series. It's going to be a whole lot of Dirk and four guards, which showed up a few times last round. Which is fitting, because Phoenix runs a big man and four guards out there pretty much all the time. So, there isn't a lot to dissect for the bigs here. Amare and Hunter versus Dirk and... maybe KVH will be back for a bit? Maybe they stick Dampier out there more than I think. Either way, this matchup will be fairly even, if not a bit in Phoenix's favour.

- Littles -
I know he played 71% of Phoenix's PF minutes, but I still consider Marion a little. So he, JJ1, JJ2, Q and Nash make up Phoenix's littles and there's not a team in the league that has better littles. Dallas may have the talented group of Finley, Howard, Terry, Daniels and Harris and would beat most groups in the league with that, but can't stand up to the Suns. Edge, Phoenix.

Dallas is a nice team and I know a few of the big basketball names on the web (like Roland Beech) have them going all the way, but I just don't see it. However, it won't be the pounding that the Suns put out in round one.

Prediction: Suns in six

#2 San Antonio versus #3 Seattle
San Antonio was 9th in offensive efficiency and 1st in defensive efficiency.
Seattle was 3rd in offensive efficiency and 25th in defensive efficiency.

This one will be a lot closer than folks think. Seattle went 2-1 against San Antonio during the regular season and Ray Allen wasn't playing in the loss. I'm not saying Seattle's going to win the series, but I think they put up a good fight.

- Bigs -
This is a variable category because of a certain inconsistent player's play. For San Antonio, Tim Duncan does everything, Nazr Mohammed scores well in the post, Rasho Nesterovic plays good D and Robert Horry shoots jumpers. On the flip side, Danny Fortson and Reggie Evans rebound, Jerome James scored inside and rebounded last series against the weak King D and Nick Collison does a little of everything. If JJ can play like he did last series, SA's advantage will only be slight. If he can't, the more likely outcome, the Spur advantage will be big everywhere except on the glass.

- Littles -
This part is more evenly matched. As we know, Seattle is pretty well set up here. Lewis and Allen make up a potent offensive force, Ridnour and Daniels make up one of the best PG tandems in the league and Radmanovic is dynamite off the bench. Of course, the Spurs match that and beat it with Parker, Ginobili, Bowen, Barry, Udrih... and even Big Dog. While Seattle's guys can score like there's no tomorrow, SA's guys can score in bunches and defend... defending being the key. Seattle's group will win them a game or two, but nothing more.

Seattle's a good team and if they can keep their team mostly together in the offseason, they'll be in good shape. Problem is, unlike last round, they're up against a team with good defenders. Thus, because of their own defensive shortcomings, they shouldn't be able to advance.

Prediction: Spurs in 6


Post a Comment

<< Home