The second round of the 2006 NBA playoffs has the chance to be one of the closest and best rounds in recent history. Three of the four series should go at least six games, with the fourth including "King James" and the powerhouse Detroit Pistons. Not to blow my own horn, but only a Phoenix comeback against the Lakers kept my first round predictions from going 8-0. So here we go, get the number of your local sportsbook handy, and lets check out the Conference Semifinals.
#1 Spurs vs. #4 Mavericks
This is really #1 vs. #2, but by now we all know the storyline behind the division rule, so I'll skip that argument. This is truly a series to make some money if you are looking to gamble. The Spurs pulled out of game one 87-85, while being favored by 5 points.
If I were a gambling man, and that I am, I would absolutely take the team getting points in each game. This series is destined to go seven and in a close fashion. Don't think Game One was a fluke. I would even be inclined to take Dallas straight up in Game Two.
Tim Duncan looked like the old Timmy, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 boards, but this type of play might not last with his recent injury trouble. In summation, I still like the Spurs' bench with Michael Finley, and I still like the Spurs to take the series in seven.
#2 Suns vs. #6 Clippers
You ruined my bid for a perfect first round, but you guys are going down in round two. The Suns are favored by 6 points for Monday's Game One, which I think is terribly inflated. The Clippers are a much more complete team than the Lakers. If Phoenix struggled with the one-man show of the Lakers, what are they going to do against Elton Brand and company, which includes veteran star Sam Cassell. Cassell was brought in for just this reason: to win playoff games.
Cassell averaged 15 points and five assists per game in the series against the Nuggets and is a proven winner. The Suns expelled way too much energy in the first round, with their three-game comeback against the Lakers. If you are about sports betting, do yourself a favor and put your money on the Clippers in game one. This series will be another nail biter; Clippers in six.
#1 Pistons vs.
Here we have the only easy series to predict. The Pistons are the overwhelming favorite to win it all, and they look like it too. They blew out the Cavaliers in game one, 113-86.
This series could turn out to be a slaughter. Lebron was held to only 22 points and averaged less than 20 points per game during the regular season against the Pistons. You get the feeling that the only way the Cavaliers can win a game in this series is to have Lebron go absolutely nuts, which won't happen against a defense like Detroit's. With this series, I don't care how many points the Pistons are favored by; take the Pistons and they will cover the spread.
They only covered the spread by 17 points on Sunday. This series will not be close, especially if the pistons go 15 for 22 from three point land again. Pistons in five.
#2 Heat vs. #3 Nets
This is another incredibly hard series to predict, but it's what I get paid for.
Both of these teams really struggled in the first round against inferior opponents. Shaq showed flashes of brilliance in the Heat series but also showed his age. But Shaq is still Shaq and still leads the league in field goal percentage at 60%, which will help the Heat to step up in this series. Shaq also upped his rebounds from 9.2 to 10.
8 in the first round, which should continue to give Miami second chance points. Even with this, I think the five points the Heat are giving up in Game One might be too many. Vince Carter increased his points average by more than five in the first round all the way up to 29.2 per, Game and I think the Nets could shock the Heat with a Game One victory. Take the points and take the Nets in this series. Nets in seven.
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