Now that we’re in the second round of the playoffs, the weak have been eliminated and it’s time for those with heart to continue on. To no one’s surprise, the defending champion Miami Heat look like they’re going to sweep their way to the finals, but it’s going to be a very heated second round.
Emotions will act up, and the strongest players with the most life like Stephen Curry will really begin their careers here. For Golden State, they are a young team who is competing with the top teams in the NBA. Their victory against Denver was closest to being an upset, commandingly winning 4-2. With that being said, what are some bold predictions for this second round?
1. Bulls Knock off Heat:
The defending champions haven’t missed a beat this season and are going strong. Now that they’ve had some time to rest, while Chicago is weary from a game seven, they’re going to be better than ever. Loul Deng is likely going to be ready to play by Monday, and the Bulls actually have a chance. They’ve done a great job without Derrick Rose in signing Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich. In this postseason, other guys like Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have really stepped up.
Let’s also not forget that the Bulls were the ones that ended Miami’s 27 game winning streak. It may be insane to think that the Heat don’t even make it to the second round, but it’s not so easy to rule the Bulls out just yet.
2. Derrick Rose Returns:
At this point, I’d say that 50% are in favor of Rose returning, and 50% are on his side. Even Rose’s brother said that he could play in the second round, so a return is looking more and more likely. Let’s not forget that the Bulls are a #1 caliber team when they have a healthy Rose, who went out in the playoffs last year. It’s been over a year since the injury, and the doctors cleared him a couple months ago. He says that he’s not 110% and he still doesn’t feel right.
If the Bulls are lucky, he’s going to return just to face the Heat. Still, it seems awfully selfish that his teammates do the dirty work and he gets to come back to play the Heat in the Eastern Conference Seminals. Nevertheless, the Bulls are an excellent team with Rose, and he may actually make a return in games three or four.
3. Warriors Upset the Spurs:
It’s safe to assume that the Warriors have magic on their side. They also have a little bit of luck, and an incredible home crowd. Denver was supposed to have themselves quite a year, but won just two games in the postseason before making yet another early exit. Either they need a new playoff coach, or they were just really unfortunate to be paired with the Warriors.
With other teams desperately trying to stop Stephen Curry, the Spurs may actually be able to. Gregg Poppovich is one of the best coaches in NBA history, and he’ll think of a plan. When Curry was cold in games four and six, in the first half, he came out to score an average of 18 points in the third quarter alone. That’s because Mark Jackson coached the Warriors into getting Curry his shots. Whatever the other team comes up with, Jackson is able to counter. The Warriors may force yet another upset against a postseason-malfunctioning Spurs team.