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NBA 2006

The Second Round Well Under Way

With the conclusion of the first round, it's worth taking note that all the favorites actually won. Now we get to see, with these final eight teams, a more accurate measure of reality.

Eastern Matchups:
Detroit vs. Cleveland
Miami vs. New Jersey

Western Matchups:
San Antonio vs. Dallas
Phoenix vs. LA Clippers

The key matchup is San Antonio vs Dallas. One of the top three teams is going home for sure. If you only watch one seriesin the playoffs -- watch this one. The winner will probably also be the West's representative in the finals. The key will be Dallas' defense against Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. For San Antonio, can they build momentum against a tough Dallas team. Make no mistake, this series is up for grabs.
San Antonio over Dallas: 4 - 3

With the Detroit - Cleveland matchup, we have a young team, learning against an old, experienced one in its prime powerhouse. Sure, the Cavs get to learn, but it won't help this year. Maybe next year these two teams will be on a more equal footing.
Detroit over Cleveland: 4 - 2

The Clippers are the only game in LA. Will they learn from the Lakers demise? Will they try to slow Phoenix down? That's the big question. Once a quick tempo gets established it's hard to slow it back down. And no team save Dallas can handle the Suns in a quick tempo game. Steve Nash is such a classy guy; did you see his acceptance of the MVP? The guy, no matter if you like him or not, is really good for the game.
Phoenix over LA Clippers: 4 - 3

Miami has some problems on the wing. Why they made the trade to let Eddie Jones go, I'll never know. But now they get to try to stop the big three from rolling. If the game goes up tempo, it will be all Nets.
New Jersey over Miami: 4 - 2

A Recap of the First Round:

1) Detroit over Milwaukee: Detroit had one game where they seemed disinterested, maybe bored, but this was the most lopsided first round series.
Predicted: 4 - 0, Actual: 4 - 1

Dallas over Memphis: This was the most impressive series by any of the teams. Sure, the Mavericks were supposed to win, but to sweep a good team, one needs a killer instinct.
Predicted: 4 - 1, Actual: 4 - 0

San Antonio over Sacramento: Sacramento was a difficult matchup, but after a classic game two and three, San Antonio broke out and overwhelmed the Kings.
Predicted: 4 - 1, Actual: 4 - 2

LA Clippers over Denver: Clippers got a little time off and take out the divided Nuggets.
Predicted: 4 - 2, Actual: 4 - 1

Phoenix over LA Lakers: The only first round series to go seven games was the Suns - Lakers series which could have gone either way. Steve Nash really took over as the Lakers went away from the slow down gameplan that had them up 3 games to 1. Boris Diaw is my new favorite player. If he plays aggressively, he can get into the lane whenever he likes.
Predicted: 4 - 3, Actual: 4 - 3

Miami over Chicago: Miami looks vulnerable after getting through Chicago -- slow and divided. This is the possible first favorite that will fall. They absolutely need to slow the game down the game and have Shaq involved.
Predicted: 4 - 2, Actual: 4 - 2

New Jersey over Indiana: After digging a hole, the Nets blew by Indiana. If the big three are rolling, this team is difficult to handle.
Predicted: 4 - 3, Actual: 4 - 2

Cleveland over Washington: LeBron James took over. He's the one who we will call the best once it's all said and done. Defense is still a big problem for the Cavs. That's where Cleveland needs to concentrate. This series could have swung Washington's way with a few more lucky breaks.
Predicted: 4 - 3, Actual: 4 - 2