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The NBA Report - Second Round of the Playoffs

playoffs09.gifThe second round of the playoffs are over!! Woo!!

Here's the round-up of what happened in the second round:

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Eastern Conference:

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Cleveland Cavaliers (1) Vs. Atlanta Hawks (4)
Just like the first round, the Cavs annihilated the opposing team in only four games. While the Hawks put up more of a fight than the Pistons did, the Cavs were still too much.
My Prediction: 4-1 in favor of the Cavs. I gave the Hawks too much credit.

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Boston Celtics (2) Vs. Orlando Magic (3)
It was grueling but the Magic managed to overcome the undermanned Celtics in seven games.
My Prediction: 4-3 in favor of a Kevin Garnett-less Celtics. I was right that it was 4-3 and looked to be in Boston's favor up until the final game.

Western Conference:

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Los Angeles Lakers (1) Vs. Houston Rockets (5)
This was easily the most exciting of the second round games... if you were a Rockets fan. After losing Yao Ming in game three, the Rockets' determination almost got the better of the Lakers but, ultimately, the Rockets went down in game seven.
My Prediction: 4-1 in favor of the Lakers. I believe that if the Lakers had the same focus and drive as the Rockets, that would've happened but, as I said, it didn't.

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Denver Nuggets (2) Vs. Dallas Mavericks (6)
The Mavericks were able to be impressive despite losing in only five games. The Nuggets' dominated the Mavericks in the end.
My Prediction: 4-1 in favor of the Nuggets. Only prediction I got right. Very nice.

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The Losers-
Atlanta Hawks - I don't know where to start. The Hawks are a team of fairly good players with an okay bench but they need to become more. More development of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson and a deeper bench would be needed if they want to stop being a playoff stepping stone for teams like the Cavs.

Boston Celtics - A healthy Kevin Garnett, development of Rajon Rondo (could potentially eclipse Chris Paul as best point guard), and some work on the bench is all they need. If those things happen, expect a better playoff experience next season.

Houston Rockets - Let's just say this, the one area this team doesn't need work in is heart. However, conviction only gets you so far. Rockets need to lessen the relience of Yao Ming by building the players around them some more. While he may've been aging, Dikembe Mutumbo's retirement has created a hole in this team as there's not a suitable back-up for Yao, a player who desperately needs time on the bench. Also, finding out where Tracy McGrady's loyalty is would be good on what to do with him.

Dallas Mavericks - More development of JJ Barea and Brandon Bass and lessening Jason Kidd and Erick Dampier's roles are the first places to start.

cavslogo.pngmagiclogo.pngPredictions for Round Two (and Beyond):
Cleveland Cavaliers (1) Vs. Orlando Magic (3)
The Magic has both impressed and disappointed me but more of the former in their series against the Celtics. I thought that if they won against Boston, they wouldn't stand a chance against the Cavs. However, I think they could beat the Cavs. The Cavs will still be victorious but they are in the for their first fight of the playoffs and this will be what makes or breaks their chances of going against the Lakers or Nuggets.
Results: 4-2 in favor of Cleveland.

lakerslogo.pngnuggetslogo.pngLos Angeles Lakers (1) Vs. Denver Nuggets (2)
Like the Eastern Conference Finals, this is a case of the underdog not being as much of an underdog as people think. The Rockets showed that the Lakers (minus Kobe) lack the killer edge when going against an "inferior" team. If the Lakers don't treat the Nuggets as the actual threats they are, expect a Denver victory.
Results: 4-3 in favor of LA.

cavslogo.pnglakerslogo.pngPossible Finals Scenarios:
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers - This series would depend on how easy the teams defeat the Magic and Nuggets. I don't think mindset will be a problem though as both teams have played specacularly against each other during the regular season.
Results: 4-3 in favor of LA.

cavslogo.pngnuggetslogo.pngCleveland Cavaliers Vs. Denver Nuggets - This would be a very interesting series. Unless the Cavs just barely beats the Magic, they'll be the favorites.
Results: 4-2 in favor of Cleveland.

magiclogo.pngnuggetslogo.pngOrlando Magic Vs. Denver Nuggets - I'm giving it to the Nuggets. Their big men can wear down Orlando's big men while keeping Turkolgu and anybody else secure.
Results: 4-3 in favor of Denver.



magiclogo.pnglakerslogo.pngOrlando Magic Vs. Los Angeles Lakers - Now, if I remember correctly, the Magic was the only team to sweep the Lakers in the regular season. Hmmm...
Results: 4-2 in favor of Los Angeles.

EDIT: When I originally wrote this article it was a week or so back and I haven't had time to publish it so the Conference finals have the Lakers and Nuggets tied at two games a piece while the Magic have a one game lead on the Cavaliers 2-1.

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