The Eastern Conference is easy to predict this season as the Cavaliers and Magic appear to be on a collision course to meet in the Eastern Finals. The West may not be quite as easy.
Just by looking at the odds when the NBA Conference Semifinals started, the East was fairly cut and dry as to who would be advancing, according to the oddsmakers. Out West, it is an entirely different story.
Who makes it out of the East?
Let’s get the first series out of the way. Orlando goes. Atlanta is in way too deep in this series. Even in a game with a predictable bounce back after their 40 point blowout loss. You knew the Hawks were going to come back with a vengeance in game two, bet their "vengeance" merely kept the game close, until Dwight Howard went on a rampage and closed it out for the win and the cover.
Orlando is now on a 12-game winning streak, and look likely to sweep their second straight series on their way to the East Final. Nuff said.
Our other East series on the other hand, that was supposed to be a one sided affair as well, has shown the markings of being a dog-fight.
Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back in game one to take control of their home court, but game two saw a feisty, gritty and game Boston squad battle straight out of the gates to take a game on the road, and wrestle home court away from the Cavs. Cleveland now needs to head to the TD Bank Garden Arena - a very difficult pace to win - and try to push back on a Boston Team that has momentum, experience and a whole lot of confidence.
Prediction: Ultimately, I think that the Cavs will wear down Boston, and at least take one game in Beantown. Lebron will recover throughout the series from his ailing elbow, and although he Celtics would be considered the more experienced team, I believe that the Cavaliers have a ton of experience of their own to push them through to the conference finals.
Eastern Conference Finals Match-up: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Orlando Magic
Who makes it out of the West?
The East is an easier pick, there are really only two and a half teams to choose from, but the West semis are becoming a bit of a pickle.
You have the Spurs and Suns in a seemingly one sided series, Phoenix being up two games to none heading back to San Antonio, and so many people have written off the Spurs in this series, bit do not think for one second that the Spurs can't easily even this series up at home, and eventually knock off their arch rivals from the desert. In fact, this series has all the makings of an epic heartbreak comeback series.
On one hand you have the written off tired veteran team, that had just enough left in the tank to beat a heavy favorite to advance into the second round, and you have the oft-beaten rival, on the verge of their first post season series victory in a decade, looking confident, spry, even cocky….then the roof comes down.
So I repeat, do not write off these Spurs, they may not come back to take series, but there will be money to be made on them this series, they will take a game or two, and cover in losses.
The Lakers on the other hand seem to be handling the feisty Jazz after showing some chinks in their armour against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz were supposed to show a bit more moxy against the defending champs.
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They're now down 2 - 0, but there is a silver lining in this mess they've gotten themselves into: I could suit up for the Jazz at home and it would still be tough for the Lakers to win. They may be favored and in a hole, but you have to earn every basket in Utah, and from heat we saw in their first round series against Oklahoma, this Lakers squad is poised to lose at least one on the road to the Jazz.
Western Conference Finals Match-up: Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns