The first round of this year's playoffs brought a lot of excitement. With the second round set to tip-off on Sunday with the Washington Wizards taking on the Boston Celtics, we're hoping the second round will just be as exciting as the first round. Let's take a look at how each series will pan out.
Eastern Conference Second Round
No. 1 Boston Celtics vs. No. 4 Washington Wizards
The Celtics shocked many as they went down 0-2 to the Chicago Bulls in the first found. Being the number one seed, the Celtics came out of the gates slow but got back into their rhythm winning the next four games. The Wizards, on the other hand, had a solid first round outing against the Atlanta Hawks and were able to win it in six games.
The series between the Wizards and the Celtics will come down to guard play, with John Wall leading Washington and Isaiah Thomas leading Boston. Wall has been impressive, averaging 29.3 points per game and 10.3 assists per game so far but it won't be enough to single-handedly take down the Celtics. Bradley Beal has been the second man while averaging 25.8 points per game in the six games against the Hawks.
Thomas is averaging 23.7 points per game and 5.7 assists but has been getting help from Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. The balanced team play by the Celtics will lead them past Wall and Beal.
Expect the Celtics to win the series 4-2.
No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 3 Toronto Raptors
The Cavaliers and the Raptors are set for a rematch from last year's playoffs. The Cavaliers had their first round easy as they swept the Indiana Pacers in four games. The Raptors got a little scare from the Milwaukee Bucks but they ultimately won in six games.
In this series between the Cavaliers and the Raptors, expect for an even less competitive series than last year. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will do their part on the offensive end, both averaging 26+ points per game, but expect the Raptors to make it harder for the other Cavaliers' players to score. With defensive stoppers in Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, Patrick Patterson, and DeMarre Carroll, the Raptors will prevent the others in scoring at ease than James and Irving.
Raptors' Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will have to play on the same page and must have great offensive nights, otherwise this series could be over sooner rather than later.
Taking everything into account, the Cavaliers will in the series 4-1.
Western Conference Second Round
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers/No. 5 Utah Jazz
The Warriors will play the winner of the Clippers/Jazz in the second round but it doesn't matter who will because the Warriors are much better than the two. In their first round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Warriors rested arguably their best player in Kevin Durant for two games and were still able to blow out the Blazers.
Their offense is just too good for either the Clippers/Jazz to handle. They rank first in the playoffs in scoring with 119.2 points a night. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will do their job in draining three-pointers and taking out either team from their defensive rhythm. Not to forget, with a healthy Durant, this team will pose nightmares on the offensive end.
Expect the Warriors to win 4-1 regardless of who they play.
No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 3 Houston Rockets
This series features a heavily loaded offensive team in the Rockets and a heavily loaded defensive team in the Spurs. Neither excels in the opposite end of the floor with efficiency but the Spurs may edge out the Rockets because the Rockets' defense is terrible. Although the Spurs are decent on the offensive end, the Rockets are downright bad, giving the Spurs a slight edge.
However, if the Rockets have explosive offensive nights every game then it may tire out the Spurs on defense if the series goes the distance. James Harden at the Rockets' helm has been tremendous, averaging 33.2 points per game and seven assists per game. The Spurs have Kawhi Leonard and he's been terrific for them, averaging 31.2 points per game and six rebounds per game.
It'll come down to those two players when leading the team to victory. Leonard being the two-way player will help in stopping Harden and that may be enough.
Expect the Spurs to win the series 4-2.
If there is one thing for sure, it's that the second round will be as exciting as the first.