Really quickly, here are my picks for the NBA 2nd round playoff series...
(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) San Antonio Spurs
The Suns can run, but the Spurs are faster than people think. More importantly, they're deeper than the Suns, who don't use more than seven or eight guys any given night. San Antonio can rotate in enough fresh legs to keep them in the game. I know Nash runs a fast-paced offense, but Tony Parker is no slouch. Also San Antonio has that Tim Duncan guy who, last I checked, is pretty good at basketball. Especially in the playoffs. Especially in the playoffs.
San Antonio will steal one game in Phoenix and hold serve at home to win in front of their fans. If this does end up going seven and going back to the desert, the Spurs will be in a tough spot. After all, look no further than the Golden State/Dallas series to see what a good home crowd can do for a team.
No Joshin' pick: Spurs in 6
(4) Utah Jazz vs. (8) Golden State Warriors
Utah and Carlos Boozer just won a game seven in Houston. But Houston fans can't hold a candle to that melee they've got going on in Oakland. Hey, who can? I don't know if anyone short of the Spurs can win in Golden State in the postseason, and I think the dream has a good chance to continue for the Warriors.
The Jazz are solid, no question, but the Warriors are hot. So hot, actually, that it makes me wonder when they'll cool off. Is this going to be like a hockey goalie getting hot for an entire postseason or just one series? They've gotta cool off. No one can stay as hot as the Warriors have been the last two weeks.
But I don't think this is when the sun sets into the Pacific Ocean for the Warriors. I'd like to think this will be an entertaining series. After all, the Jazz just won a tough game seven against a determined T-Mac and Yao, but the Warriors - well - we all know.
The Warriors will steal a game in Salt Lake City - just as they did in Dallas - and continue this improbable run.
No Joshin' pick: Warriors in 6
(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (5) Chicago Bulls
Both teams are coming off first round sweeps. The Pistons faced a young, inexperienced Magic team. The Bulls faced the defending champs. So naturally the Bulls are the tougher team here, right?
No way, actually. The Pistons didn't keep Ben Wallace around why? Not because they didn't want to pay, but because they didn't need to pay. Sure, Wallace was a huge part of the Pistons' championship run a few years ago. They played team basketball, and he was big cog in that Detroit machine.
Only problem for Ben's Bulls is that the Pistons are still playing that team game, and they're doing it just fine without him. Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Teshawn Prince and company know what it takes to win. Throw in Chris Weber, and you've got a scary combination in Motown.
A lot of people think this will be a good series (personally, I think Suns-Spurs will be more entertaining and more competitive).
The Bulls don't have as many scoring options as the Pistons, and with both teams playing good defense, the key will be which offense can break through. That makes this an easy pick for me.
No Joshin' pick: Pistons in 5
(2) Cleveland Cavs vs. (6) New Jersey Nets
The Cavs haven't played in four months or so. Okay, not that long, but they've had some time off while the Nets dealt with those pesky Raptors. I thought the Nets would be too old to advance this post season, but instead they appeared too experienced to fail.
Jason Kidd and VC are the Eastern Conference version of the Phoenix Suns. They were able to dominate the young guns (Chris Bosh and TJ Ford) of Toronto, and they should be able to keep the pressure on LeBron. James hasn't shown an ability to lift a team in the clutch like Kobe Bryant does. That's great that they beat a depleated Wizards team, but this will be much tougher.
New Jersey should Net themselves another playoff series win. Experience will help the Nets advance to the conference finals versus the Pistons.
No Joshin' pick: Nets in 7