Bold Prediction: The Closest Second Round Series Will Be...
...Pacers vs. Heat! While I do not have the cojones or the mindless fanhood to predict a Pacers win, I think that, if any game goes to Game 7, itwill be this one. Pacers have a lot of firepower and are a well-coached, good defensive team. Plus, I think the Lakers will fall apart, the 76ers won't be able to stay with the Celtics, and the Spurs will take care of a much less-rested Clippers/Grizzlies team.
Sorry Gramps, I appreciate the hometown spirit, but I think the Heat should be able to handle this one in 5 or 6, the Pacers will give a fight, but they don't have enough to beat the Heat.
Danny Granger will be guarded by one of the best perimeter defenders in the league in Lebron, I won't go as far to say he will be shut down however he will give im problems, and although Danny Granger is a very nice player, he isn't the same guy he was 2-3 years ago, he's a jumpshooter who doesn't drive much, as long as you close out and put pressure on him to take tough shots they should be able to contain him, David West should have a decent series as a jumpshooter, Before the playoffs I would've said Roy Hibbert is hte key down low since the Heat's biggest flaw is a lack of size, however I was very unimpressed with him in the Orlando series playing against defensively chalanged players, and the guards in Collison and Hill are nice, but the Heat's help defense will prevent them from getting to the rim, the X factor to me is Paul George, an up and coming wing player with great size and talent, not comparing these two guys but at the begining of the Bulls-Philly series I sadi for the Sixers to have even a remote chance of winning(before the D-Rose injury) they needed Evan Turner to make the leap to stardom, and that is what the Pacers need from George. I don't think it'll be a sweep, It wouldn't surprise me if it went 6, but I think the Heat will finish it off in 5 or 6. Too much Lebron and Wade, they have shooter and defenders, even if Lebron doesn't guard Granger Battier is still a top 10 periemeter defender and will give Granger problems, and James will give someone else troubles, but you guyshave a bright future.
I expect the Thunder to either sweep the Lakers or get it done in 5, they are locked in with thier eyes on the prize they can finish and win clsoe games now, I'll say it goes 5 because I think Kobe will win a game for the Lakers.
The Spurs were my favorite to come out of the West, they haven't dissapointed however the Thunder impressed me in the last round so I'll say it's a dead even toss up, but don't count out th Grizz or the Clippers, they're both good teams with size and good guards and perimeter players, without looking at the past Memphis would give San Antonio more trouble, they have two legit bigs that can drop 15-20 on you each night nd one premier defensive big, a 20 ppg scorer in Gay, lockdown defender in Allen, and amazingly cool and calm point guard in Conley, but the Spurs are on a mission, so I'd say Spurs in 6 or 7.
And Philly is legit, I have full confidence that they can steal two of the next three and go into game 5 dead even, I'm going with Boston is 7 because they have too much experience, but Philly is another dangerous team, but other than the Celts the heat have hte East wrapped up, but the Pacers will give a fight.
Spurs vs Clippers/Grizzlies
Regardless of who wins the other series, I think the Spurs will wrap them up quickly. I'd almost rather see the Grizzles advance for two reasons. One, it'll be a rematch from last season's first round upset. Second, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin aren't 100%. I think the Grizzlies will be a tougher series for the Spurs, but I still see it only going 4 or 5. The only way the Grizzlies can make this a longer series is if they dominate the low post and Zach Randolph isn't healthy enough.
Thunder vs Lakers
This will be a good series in my opinion, especially IF Gasol and Bynum show up like they did last night. The Nuggets play faster than the Thunder, so the Lakers had good preparation. IF they get back and make it a half-court game, this will be an ugly, long and hard fought series for both teams. I see the Thunder winning in 6 or 7, but wouldn't be shocked if the Lakers pulled this out.
Celtics vs 76ers
The series will be a lot closer if Pierce isn't healthy, but I still think it only goes 5 or 6 games max.
Heat vs Pacers
I don't know how this series will go. I see the potential for it to be a long series, but I could also see the Heat just coming out and whooping the Pacers' ass. Realistically, I only see it going 5 or 6 games.
Spurs versus Grizzlies. Spurs are favored but I have Memphis in 6
Laker versus OKC I have Lakers in 6
Celtic versus 76ers. I have 76ers in 7. Kg will not have too many great games like that to give them a one point win at home.
Heat versus Pacers. Heat in 5. The games will be close but not the series.
Honestly, I just don't know about the Pacers. If it wasn't for a few bad 3rd quarters for the Magic in the 1st round, that series could have gone 6 or even 7 games. They haven't shown anything special in these playoffs at all while the Heat completely shut down the New York Knicks. Battier and LeBron absolutely shut down perhaps the most complete scoring SF in the leauge as well. Roy Hibbert could not, for the life of him, take advantage of a 6'7 Glen Davis. David West struggled while guarded by Ryan Anderson and Earl Clark. Paul George is improving but isn't at the level where he'll be a defining factor in a game. Danny Granger has struggled with his shooting all season, it won't be any easier when he's going to be defended by Battier and LeBron. Not to mention, the Pacers don't exactly rack up assists, I don't know how they'll beat a Heat team if they're not playing team-ball. That series might be over in 5.
I'm going with Spurs vs Grizzlies/Clippers. I think that series has potential to go 7 games against either team. One team is physical and scrappy while the other is flopping all over the place, nowadays, both give you the same advantage. The Spurs will have their hands full and will be tested.
@TOL-"Not to mention, the Pacers don't exactly rack up assists, I don't know how they'll beat a Heat team if they're not playing team-ball."
Really? Are you serious right now? Say what you want about the Pacers, but you can't say that they don't play team-ball. Sure, they're last in assists, but there are a couple reasons for that:
1) Hill and Collison are not high-assist Point Guards. Nothing horribly wrong with that, they're just more suited to doing other things at PG
2) A lot of the Pacers' baskets come from guys creating their own shot. Granger, George, Hill, and Collison take a lot of dribble-pull up shots. Hibbert operates on the block. Hansbrough gets a lot of points off of put backs and free throws. So, not a lot of assist potential for a style like that.
And how can you say that the Pacers don't play team ball?! Have you never seen them play? Shoot, have you never even looked at their box scores? They had 8 guys with between 18.7 and 9.3PPG, seven of those between 12.8 and 9.3PPG, when you throw out Granger. No 20PPG scorers and they still get the 3 seed? Yeah, no team basketball being played there.
The two series in the West could both go 7 so I'd have to go with one of them.
"A lot of the Pacers' baskets come from guys creating their own shot"
How that's going to work for them against Wade, Chalmers, LeBron, Battier, Anthony, Haslem, and Bosh? Oh, yeah... not very well. They're not going to beat the Heat if they don't rack up assists, impossible to beat them one-on-one. Especially if you struggled to score over Glen Davis, Ryan Anderson, Quentin Richardson, and JJRedick.
But to say that they don't play team basketball is ludicrous!
The Pacers do four things very well. They rebound, defend, can play in the half-court and make their free-throws.
IF they can make the Heat play a half-court game, I think they have a shot to win a game or two. They have to play inside out and not outside in. Hibbert and West will have to play out of their mind. And the Pacers have to win the 50-50 plays.
Another good thing going for the Pacers is they're not just dependent on one main guy like the Bulls or Knicks. The contributions really come from everywhere.
People listen to you. Isn't TOL way off base in saying that the Pacers don't play team basketball?
Hmm, well, I've watched the Pacers play and I really like the sets they run, and by watching them I can say they move the ball well, but they also run a good amount of one-on-one iso sets, which is what rigs the total assist stats, which is why they were 29th in total aissists with only 4 more than the Thunder. Although I usually let the stats do the talking, I will say that ball movement is key, which is team basketball, but just because a team doesn't have a high assist total doesn't mean that they don't play team ball, but the stats do show that they are at the bottomof the league in that catagory.
The Pacers don't have as much ball movement as a team like the Bulls, but I think they play very good team ball. I mean, they get contributitions from everywhere.
Like you said, the Pacers' point guards just aren't assist guys.
If any series goes 7 I think it is the Thunder-Lakers series. In the other series I think most would pick the Spurs, Heat, and Celtics to advance.
LA/OKC is a rougher call.
The Lakers, in my opinion, are built to stop Kevin Durant. They can throw Metta at him. Or Matt Barnes. Or even Ebaks at times. Or who about Kobe here and there, a smart, tough, strong player who can play some defense. Then, if KD gets by those guys he will face two 7 foot
trees in Bynum and Pau.
The Lakers can also throw the same defenders at James Harden who is OKC's X Factor.
Westbrook is a very tough matchup for the Lakers but Sessions is fairly quick. Fisher knows the Lakers inside and out,
but Fish is way past his prime. At this point, I think Steve Blake is the better player.
It's going to be a battle. The Lakers have 3 scorers as do the Thunder. I think that Metta, Barnes, Blake, Jordan Hill,and Sessions are a bit
better offensively than Ibaka, K Perk, Nick Collison, Fisher, and Cook.
I think the most important factor here is that the Lakers have two great post-up players inside. Kobe is also great scorer when posting up.
Metta can work off the blocks too. That is one area where the Thunder don't get a lot of offensive production. MWP is both fairly well rested and not rusty. He misses 7 straight games then played solid in game 7. Slight advantage there for the Lakers.
If there was a game for the Pacers to steal, it's this one, this is a different team than we saw against the Magic, this is the team we at the end of the regular season, the recipe for an underdog team to beat a really good team is to steal one on the road, gut one out at home, or simply get the series tied at 2 a piece. Now you go into their building and go for the decisive blow, and try to steal game 5, and then finish it of in front of your home crowd. If you lose game 5, you have to win game 6 on your home court, and anything can happen.
After seeing the way the Pacers are playing, it's completely feasible that they can pull it off, but they have to keep it up, no letdowns, pound it inside to West, Hansbrough and Hibbert and let them carry you to victory, but the Heat aren't gonna shoot 36% again, they have to have good defensive rotations and hold off any sort of run the Heat try to come up with, don't let the lead linger around 3-6, try to get it to 8-10, let your bigs score inside, and try to get Granger going with a couple of stager screens that lead to open midrange jumpshots, the Heat should be glad that it's only 6, but I love the ball movement by the Pacers today, I hope they keep it up, but I would be laughing if the League got a Indiana-San Antonio, or Indiana-OKC matchup, those are great basketball series that I would love to watch, but the ratings would be low as hell.
I wasn't that far off...
I'm happy you pulled up this thread.
Like I said all along... I realistically thought the Pacers could win a game or two in this series.