Pacers in 6
Throughout the first round, the Indiana Pacers looked anything but a number one seed as they scuffled against the 38 win Atlanta Hawks. Despite being behind from the start of the series, the Pacers pulled it together and won in seven games. A lot of problems were exposed and if they do not work them out fast they will not be lucky to survive the up and coming Wizards. The Wizards dominated the Bulls will soon be one of the top teams in the East, but the worst thing that could of happened was a prolonged rest between series. The Wizards being such a young team need to stay on the court and keep their momentum. The Pacers should get a boost with their second life and if Roy Hibbert can carry over his performance in Game 7, the Pacers can take up some momentum as they return to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Spurs in 6
The Trail Blazers won their first series in 14 years beating the Rockets in dramatic fashion on Damian Lillard’s three pointer. The Spurs over that same time have been one of the most successful teams, winning three titles and going to the finals four times. The Spurs had their hands full also in the first round, needing seven games to knock off the Mavericks. The Mavericks are a veteran team like the Spurs, but the Blazers grew up in the first round and their quickness may cause trouble for the older Spurs. The Spurs depth should give them an advantage as Coach Gregg Popovich is a master of balancing playing time and in game adjustments. The Blazers should be able to challenge the Spurs, but in the end the Spurs know how to win these type of games and will go to the Conference Finals for the third straight season.
Heat in 7
Perhaps no team in the Eastern Conference gives the Heat more headaches than the Brooklyn Nets, who won all four regular season matchups. However, all four were as close as can be, with three being decided by one point and the other going into double overtime. The Nets are everything the Heat don’t want to see, they are not intimidated by LeBron James, they are physical and they are deep. The Heat are helped by having a week off, while the Nets needed to sweat out a seven game series with the Raptors, and it is hard to imagine the Nets being to push the Heat around in the series like they did during the regular season, but Kevin Garnett holds the key if he can find some of that fountain of youth and frustrate LeBron the Nets can knock of the two time defending champs, but that maybe asking too much. However, it will be a war, as the Heat survive a seven game slugfest.
Thunder in 5
The Clippers had enough drama and emotional battles on and off the court, to make the first round feel like an entire 82 game season. Donald Sterling may be gone and the fate of his ownership will be decided far away from the Staples Center allowing the team to focus just on basketball. However getting to the Western Conference Finals will be a battle in which the Clippers are too battered to achieve. While emotional toil is over, the health of Chris Paul is not, he already is dealing with the lingering effects of a dislocated shoulder but against the Warriors he was hobbled by a hamstring. The Thunder meanwhile are getting healthy and finding their groove after surviving a tough battle against the Grizzles. Memphis always gives the OKC all they could handle and the Clippers just not are not able to create the same defensive pressure on them. With Kevin Durant leading the way the Thunders should be able to advance quickly in five games.