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May 11, 2014 | by  | in Opinion Sports |
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NBA Set To Heat Up In Round 2

New Zealanders seem to have an obsession with the NBA. And I can definitely see why. I know I’m one of those who’s obsessed.

A major American sports competition broadcast all around the world, featuring some of the biggest names in world sport, and those who will go down as some of the greatest athletes of all time.

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant. Some of the biggest superstars in the game draw so much attention from young fans far and wide as they turn out for brutal contests 3-4 times a week- that is a lot of basketball.

The great thing about the NBA is that the bottom team in the league can easily upset one of the top teams, and this makes for incredibly interesting viewing. It is not a case of the Miami Heat winning by 40 every game they play. That’s the beauty of the competition.

And now we find ourselves in the playoffs, and it is all anyone is talking about! How close OKC and Indiana, two of the front-runners, came to being eliminated after the first round. Did we want the Clippers or Golden State to advance?

And what about the second year rookie Damian Lillard! 0.9 seconds left and he bangs in a three pointer from about a football field’s length behind the three-point line to end the Rockets playoff run! It’s all happening at the moment!

These sorts of moments are exactly why everyone loves the NBA. And expect plenty more to come in the second round! But going into the second round, I’ve got some questions.

Is Roy Hibbert really back? The All-Star big man was a non-factor for much of the Pacers’ first-round series against Atlanta, a team that spread the floor and posed matchup nightmares for Hibbert. If he wants to make amends for what he didn’t do against the Hawks, this would be the ideal time to do so.

Will Blake Griffin be the difference-maker against OKC?  Griffin faces a difficult matchup against Thunder forward-centre Serge Ibaka, but if Griffin can get the best of Ibaka, it would be a significant factor toward the Clippers advancing to the West finals.

Personally, I can’t wait for the second round to heat up. Here are my picks:

OKC to take down the Clippers in 6, Miami to end Brooklyn in 5 (Brooklyn will pick up a home win), San Antonio to put away the Blazers in 5 (I’m giving Portland a home win as well) and the Pacers to be pushed to 6 by the Wizards, only to eventually take the series.

It’s all happening in the NBA- come on Miami for the three-peat!

Sticking with the NBA:
Top 5 Questions Heading Into Round 2 of the Playoffs

  1. How hurt is Chris Paul?  A sore right hamstring has troubled Paul and he also has a sprained left thumb. You’ve probably also noticed the shoulder padding under his right sleeve. He separated his shoulder on Jan. 3 in Dallas, missed six weeks and still isn’t completely healed.

  2. How will the Pacers deal with John Wall if they couldn’t slow down Jeff Teague? The same strategy used to try to neutralize Teague, switching Paul George on him instead of George Hill, has to be the order of business again.

  3. Can Miami stop Brooklyn in the Paint? During the regular season matchups, the Nets outrebounded Miami by an average of 40-34. Even without injured centre Brook Lopez, the Nets have plenty of size, including Garnett, Blatche and Mason Plumlee.

  4. Can LaMarcus keep burning? LaMarcus Aldridge is the leading scorer so far in the playoffs, averaging 29.8 points per game against Houston. He’ll step up in class against the Spurs’ No. 3-rated defence and so is unlikely to go off for 46 and 43.

  5. Has Kevin Durant snapped out of his shooting slump? Durant’s been awful from beyond the arc really since the end of March and was 12-for-48 in the first six games against the Grizzlies. He was 5-for-5 in Game 7 and 12-for-18 overall.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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