We split Sunday night’s playoff games to get to 31-9 through our first 40 NBA playoff game picks, but more round two games are on their way to confuse us all even more. Few probably saw the Wizards going into Atlanta and getting an early win last night, but perhaps we should have seen it coming after they did just that in Toronto to start their previous series. Are we set up for the Chicago Bulls or Los Angeles Clippers to do that tonight? It’s tough to gauge, but that’s what we’re here for. Let’s break down tonight’s two NBA playoff matchups and see who the most reliable picks are:
Chicago Bulls (3) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (2)
Joakim Noah said he’s actually looking forward to going to Cleveland, where an old rivlary will begin anew when the Bulls take on LeBron James and his Cavaliers. It’s tough to figure out who the true favorite is in this series, as the Bulls are completely healthy on the surface, but only really looked great in one game in round one against the Bucks. Cleveland, on the other hand, is down Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs and won’t have J.R. Smith for the first two games of round two. Are Love and Smith’s absences too much for Cleveland to overcome in a tough home game against the Bulls? Logic says yes, but Chicago has been far from dominant this year and Cleveland edged them out for the Central division title during the regular season. Chicago could end up taking this series, but I don’t expect them to get off to a hot start. That will be the Cavaliers, behind a big first game out of King James.
Pick: Cavs 105, Bulls 101
Los Angeles Clippers (3) @ Houston Rockets (2)
I love what I saw from the Clippers in round one. They displayed tremendous heart and fight, while their starting unit flashed championship ability. Their depth is a huge concern, though, as is the health of Chris Paul heading into this series. And that’s before we factor in the dynamic duo of James Harden and Dwight Howard. I think at least for game one it’s all too much to expect a big win out of the Clips, but I do like this series to go the full seven games. Chris Paul should still show up tonight, but he may be limited due to his hammy issue. Look for Houston to take care of business at home to get things started.
Pick: Rockets 109, Clippers 106