The first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs was, without a doubt, the best we have ever seen. Now after NBA playoff records with five Game 7’s, eight overtime games and 24 road-team wins, just eight teams remain. As the Semifinals for both conferences begin on Monday, we get to start seeing young superstars like Damian Lillard and John Wall get the taste of a deep playoff run. We’ll get to watch the Clippers, Nets and Wizards play in the second round for the first time in quite a while. The big question for the NBA Quarterfinals, will the Heat finally go down?
Cinco de Mayo will have two games played on the day. The first one may be the most interesting, between arguably the most slumping team in the postseason and the most surprising team so far. The Indiana Pacers barely got past the first round, needing all seven games to get by the Atlanta Hawks. While the Washington Wizards shocked everybody in the first round, dominating the Chicago Bulls and winning the series 4-1. A series, which the Wizards won all three games played in Chicago, and very convincingly. Back to the Pacers-Hawks series, the Pacers lost two games in their home building. Game one, the Hawks led by as much as 20, game five the Hawks had led by as much as 30. Don’t expect home court to be much of a factor, and don’t expect Roy Hibbert to do much against Marcin Gortat.
The other is a 2-3 matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the L.A. Clippers. Both teams are coming off game 7’s, both face a lot of distraction. Coming up this week, the NBA will continue it’s push to force Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after his life ban, and OKC’s Kevin Durant will win the MVP award for the first time. If both teams can get past these distractions, they’ll then deal with each other. A battle of two Western Conference powerhouses, a showcase of All-Star point guards, KD and Blake Griffin possibly guarding each other…. this is one we’ve waited a long time for.
The other half of the second round consists of two series where…well, we have no idea what’s going to happen. San Antonio and Portland will be a very interesting series. A battle of the experienced Tony Parker and Tim Duncan versus the young talent of Damian Lilliard and Lamarcus Aldridge. Usually these kind of series favor the experienced team, like how we saw with Brooklyn against Toronto, but after what we saw Portland do to Houston, there’s no question that Rip City will give the old guys all they can handle.
The final match-up, perhaps the greatest rivalry, “The King” Lebron James against “The Truth” Paul Pierce. We all know these two teams will absolutely battle. Brooklyn was able to sweep Miami in the regular season, and if anybody knows how to beat Miami in the playoffs it’s Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Even if they only average 20 minutes per game in this series, there will be blood, sweat and tears on the court as Miami will face it’s toughest second round opponent in the Big 3 era.
There isn’t much to say in this conclusion, except order some pizza, lay back on the couch and watch the warfare!
- Justin Hodges is a Staff Writer for ProSportsExtra.comĀ