Round two of the 2015 NBA playoffs has finally arrived. The Clippers capped an intense round one by barely beating the defending champion Spurs last night, and we can only hope we see another series like that throughout the rest of the playoffs. Could we see the start of it right away on Sunday afternoon? Perhaps, as we’re graced with two interesting series when the Hawks host the Wizards and the Warriors welcome the Grizzlies to the Oracle Arena.
Let’s break down the action tonight as we stroll in with a 30-7 playoff record and get ready for an exciting second round:
Washington Wizards (5) @ Atlanta Hawks (1)
The Hawks rebounded from a sluggish start in round one to finish off the Nets with two strong outings, while the Wizards have been resting for a while now thanks to a 4-0 sweep over the Toronto Raptors. One of the big questions going into this series will be if the Hawks have an advantage being in a better groove, or if the time off will make Washington the fresher team. It may not matter to start, as Atlanta is at their best on their home floor this year and really looked to be hitting their stride over the past two games.
John Wall and co. looked great in their first round series, but the Hawks are far better than the Raptors – especially on defense. Look for the Wiz to keep it close and interesting, but the Hawks to ultimately close out with the win.
Pick: Hawks 106, Wizards 102
Memphis Grizzlies (4) @ Golden State Warriors (1)
Golden State gets a tough matchup in round two, as a strong defensive-minded Grizzlies squad comes to town. Memphis has the tools to slow this game down and keep it close, but the Warriors also tend to be a very strong defensive team. No Mike Conley is probably the key to the start of this series, while the Warriors have lost just two games at home all year long. Memphis might give it a strong go despite being depleted, but with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as their only true muscle, they should be under-manned and out-gunned in game one.
Pick: Warriors 108, Grizzlies 97