Heat in 4
The Bulls gave the Heat fits in the regular season, splitting four games including a win that ended Miami’s 27 game winning streak. The Bulls are a pesky, gritty and gutty team that survived a seven game battle with the Brooklyn Nets, despite being ravaged with injuries. The Heat coming off a sweep of the Bucks are well rested having not played in over a week. The Bulls come in like a wounded dog and the Heat will show no mercy. The Bulls have too many injuries to really have a chance at challenging the Heat. They without a doubt will get blitzed in their first two games in Miami, and then it will be up to how they feel in Game 3 at home if they can somewhat make it a series. If Derrick Rose decides to give it a go, perhaps things could get interesting. However, not playing a minute all season there is no telling what Rose can give the Bulls. Knowing that this is the team that ended their streak, will also be a positive for the Heat who will look to send a message. This has sweep written all over it and the Bulls will be lucky if they can keep more than one game lower than double digits.
Grizzlies in 6
The door to the Western Conference Finals opened up for the Grizzlies when Russell Westbrook suffered a knee injury. Though the Thunder managed to claw past the Rockets it was clear when they dropped Game 4 and 5, that they were not the same team without their second leading scorer. Kevin Durant was able to carry the Thunder in the first round, but against a team with a stellar defense like the Grizzlies that will be a much harder task. Marc Gasol was the Defensive Player of the Year and will be a key role in this series as he will prevent Durant from dominating the middle. The Thunder also have a strong defense led by Serge Ibaka and if they are to win the series Ibaka must have a big series and take Gasol out of his game. The key for the Grizzlies will be Zach Randolph who must have a big series, and be the go to guy in Memphis. The Grizzlies did take two of three games in the regular season against the Thunder and that was against a health Russell Westrbook. In the end it will be that loss that will lead to a Thunder loss as the Griz win the series in six.
Knicks in 7
This series has toss-up written all over it, as the two teams split four games in the regular season, with the home team winning all four games. This will not be an all home court series as both the Pacers and Knicks are capable of stealing a game on the road, and will win on the road. Both teams have a disadvantage of having no time to prepare for this series, as they will each be playing less than 48 hours after ending their first round series, though such a scenario could give the Pacers the upper hand at stealing Game 1 at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers will try to turn up the defensive pressure, while the Knicks will look to get Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith going. If the Pacers are able to slow down Melo and Smith they will get the upper hand. The Knicks who had a great defensive series against the Celtics must continue to put forth the pressure. The Knicks who just won their first playoff series in 13 years may get some psychological help from getting that monkey off their back. In the end the Knicks have more talent a deeper bench, and with Game 7 at the Garden it will be their series to lose.
Spurs in 5
There is one stat that is too large to ignore when looking at this series and that is the Golden State Warriors have not won a game in San Antonio since February 14, 1997. That is before Tim Duncan was picked with the first overall pick in that year’s draft, and LeBron James was in the sixth grade. To win this series the Warriors must win at least one game in San Antonio. In their series clinching win against the Nuggets David Lee played one minute bringing energy to the home crowd and his team. However, a Willis Reed moment will not be enough in this series, as Lee who is nursing a torn hip would have needed to be 100% if the Warriors were to have a chance for the upset. The Warriors did get a split in the regular season, winning both games in Oakland. One thing that could work in the Warriors factor is the play of Stephen Curry who has been red hot from three point range. If there is to be an upset Curry will be the reason. However, the Spurs are too deep and have too much experience to lose this series. Sweeping the Lakers helped get them some much needed rest, as Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will each prove too much for the Warriors to stop as the Spurs win in five.