One round of the NBA playoffs is in the books which means it’s time for Alex and Sam to turn their sights towards the (hopefully) juicier conference semifinals.
Sam: So second round starts tonight you wanna put second round predictions and this weekend’s games into one Monday post? I can take it.
Alex: Yeah sure sounds good.
Sam: Alright good deal. What do you have for the series we know in round two?
Alex: Give me the Spurs in 6 I just don’t trust the Thunder enough. And Golden State in 7 with or without Steph, plus I want to say Cavs in 5, but I think I’ll go 6.
Sam: I agree on the Cavs I’ll take them in six. I’ll actually take the Spurs and Warriors in 5 I think, although obviously would not be shocked if it went longer and give me the Heat/Hornets winner in 7 I’m feeling bold.
Alex: I’m going to wait on that one because I’m still not confident Toronto will close out the series.
Sam: That may be why I feel confident calling that one haha.
Alex: True but I think the Raptors match up much better against the Hornets than Heat and Pacers are just a wild card.
Sam: I said to myself that if the Heat beat Charlotte I could see them winning the East. I trust Miami more than I trust Indiana or Toronto. As for Charlotte, I’m not sure how I feel yet but I love Kemba’s potential as a 4th quarter playoff killer.
Alex: If Miami’s shots are falling they could take down anyone in the East, and if Charlotte’s Dis tip top combined with a Kemba takeover then it’s similar. There are so many chances to go wrong with everyone left alive in that conference though.
Sam: That’s so true I guess I’m hitching my [wagon] a little early but I don’t have much confidence in Toronto or Indiana at this point but I am at least quasi-afraid of Paul George taking over a series.
Alex: Yeah at least he’s shown he’s willing and able to take over a game completely which we haven’t seen from Toronto’s stars.
Sam: Not yet at least. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the must win tomorrow night.
Alex: Hopefully better than OKC is handling this game 1.
Sam: Good grief I know right? I feel great about Spurs in 5 right now maybe should have said 4. But I do think OKC will bounce back in some capacity going forward and be more competitive.
Alex: Yeah there’s no way this can be the norm going forward. But it certainly seems like a good indicator of how things are gonna go.
Sam: The Spurs are better than the Thunder even if the Thunder have the two best individual players in the series, arguably.
Alex: Yeah they’ve been showing for a decade they don’t need the best player on the floor to win.
Sam: That’s a good point they kind of transcend the best player on the court rule.
Alex: You gonna take the Heat at home here or the Hornets with the upset?
Sam: So I’ve always been a firm proponent of hed over heart, but I also picked Charlotte to win the series knowing it could come to this so I’ll stick with the Hornets even though I don’t feel rock solid about it. You? I am wearing my lucky Larry Johnson jersey so hopefully it pulls us through.
Alex: I can’t blame you there at all, I nearly picked the Magic to make the playoffs before the season. I unfortunately have to take the Heat. They’re older, wiser, and at home. I think it’ll just be too much.
Sam: I am afraid you’re right, and that Charlotte already burned their road win for this series and blew their opportunity to close at home.
Alex: Yeah blowing a potential series winner at home is practically a death sentence, it’s too tough to bounce back from.
Sam: Definitely tough to get back up for Game 7 after that. Miami is killing us on the offensive boards right now.
Alex: And they need to take advantage of Whiteside being out, which they’ve failed to do. But it’s all moot if Miami continues to shoot at a high percentage.
Sam: True if Miami shoots like they did in the first two games even the Warriors aren’t beating them. Lin has killed us on D by gambling and ending up out of position.
Alex: Kemba needs to be doing a lot more on both ends. I’ve barely noticed him out there.
Sam: He has not had a positive impact so far, hopefully that means a breakout second half. I thought it was particularly disappointing on the shot clock violation possession that he wasn’t calling for the ball when the shot clock was running down. He needs to be more assertive or Charlotte will lose.
Alex: He and Jefferson both. Nothing is happening inside which isn’t creating any space on the outside. A bunch of midrange jumpers aren’t going to cut it.
Sam: Yeah the PNR game was rough in the first half. This game feels like it’s about to get out of control unless someone (Kemba) takes charge.
Tough end to a good season.
Alex: I’d at least wait until the end of the third. Then you can start the eulogy if it stays this way.
Sam: Goran Dragic just dunked can I please start now?? We might can get to the wake before dark.
Alex: Yep. Forget I said that. You’re cleared for takeoff. Enjoy the future.
Sam: This isn’t a time a time for mourning the death it’s a time for celebrating life.
Alex: Yeah you’re better off remembering the successes of the previous 88 games this season and not mentioning this one.
Sam: So true especially for a team who we questioned whether or not they would win 30 games coming into the season.
Alex: Absolutely, I didn’t have them anywhere near here. There’s plenty to build on from what they’ve already done.
Sam: Agreed I’m optimistic about the future building around Kemba. The only real concern I have going forward is that their best role players are older except Lin and Kaminsky.
Alex: And they’ll probably have to pay up this Summer in free agency this summer, they should be fine but who knows how much of the current roster they can retain.
Sam: Kaminsky and Walker will be back as will Batum. Al Jefferson could be a potential trade piece. Golden State starting off hot per usual.
Alex: In case anyone forgot, Klay Thompson is super, super good.
Sam: Yes, as is Draymond Green. Klay has to be one of the most under-appreciated stars by the casual NBA fan, right?
Alex: Possibly, just because he’s squarely inside Steph’s massive shadow. But when talking about the best shooters in the league, they’re both mentioned like a package deal as a given.
Sam: That’s what I meant, I guess. He could easily be an alpha somewhere if he wanted to be. Yet casual fans treat him like another starter riding on Steph’s coattails, I feel like. I don’t know if it that’s people can’t or just won’t comprehend that one team can have two shooters as prolific as Steph and Klay.
Alex: They are tied to each other for better or worse but it’s games like these where he has the opportunity to shine and he’s performing like they don’t even need that other guy.
Sam: Definitely. If you wanted to argue against Steph for MVP, which I don’t, I think your argument lies in the fact that while being the most outstanding, his team is still one of the best four teams in the NBA without him. I look at that as a huge testament to both Draymond and Klay, as opposed to a slight to Curry, though.
Alex: It is way more about the team (and coach) than Steph. That’s why if he isn’t a unanimous MVP then any decenter needs their vote taken away.
Sam: Oh, I completely agree. He’s the most key cog on the best team. That doesn’t mean that just because his team is good without him that he is somehow less valuable.
Alex: Please come back soon Steph. The NBA is always fun, it’s just less fun without you.
Sam: Second that notion. Think the raps can hold onto this thing and give Drake the opportunity to storm the court?
Alex: Yeah, the Pacers are going to be Meek Mill’d before too long. There’s too much momentum in Toronto right now. Okay maybe not.
Sam: Haha, man you put the Meek Mill voodoo on the Raptors!
Alex: Nah, it’s just like Drake’s relationships: it’s way more interesting when it’s complicated.
Sam: True that. DeMar with the ice water free throws. I love it but I’m still taking Miami in seven.
Alex: I’m going to cop out and say I need a little more time to think about how they match up. I work super early tomorrow so I’ll sleep on it and come up with an answer.
Sam: Sounds good to me, you wanna call it on this one and pick things up tomorrow?
Alex: That’d be great.