Welcome to Baller Central!!!! Basketball and Football articles created by Phil and Akeem
After a wild and unpredictable first round where we saw the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers go down in 6 games vs the Suns. So as of right now we will have a new champion!!!!! The matchups for the second round are the Jazz vs Mavericks/Clippers, Suns vs Nuggets, 76ers vs Hawks, and Bucks vs Nets. Let’s get right into the matchups!!! This is done on Saturday June 5th 2021 so we don’t know the result of the Mavs vs Clippers series but we are assuming the Jazz beat either one of these teams.
Jazz vs Clippers/Mavericks
Season Record: 2-1 Utah (vs. Clippers/Mavericks)
Jazz Fun Facts: They are the only team in the NBA to have never lost more than 60 games in a regular season.
Mavericks Fun Facts: As of 2017, they have sold out 707 consecutive games since December 15, 2002. The longest streak in major league sports.
Clippers Fun Facts: Clippers have had 10 players become Rookie of The Year. That's pretty amazing!
X-Factor for Jazz: If Donovan Mitchell can stay healthy, they should be fine. I know he has a lot to prove because of the high expectations. But we know that actually has potential!!!
X-Factor for Clippers: PAUL GEORGE!!!! He has now had the “Pandemic P” title for a while now so all eyes will be on him second round if the Clippers make it.
X Factor for Mavericks: PANDEMIC P THE SECOND!!!! Kristaps Porzingis has turned into the new Pandemic P as he hasn’t done much in the playoffs as well and his ability has come into question as of late.
With the Jazz getting plenty of rest and the Mavericks and Clippers fighting it out in a seven game series we see the Jazz winning against either one. For the Mavericks we believe Luka‘s heroics won’t be enough for the better built jazz team. The Mavs NEED KP to show up if they have any chance. As for the Clippers if they are struggling in a series with just Luka they will have trouble with a better team in the Jazz who have a lot more weapons than the Mavericks.
JAZZ IN 6
Nuggets vs Suns
Regular season record: 2-1 Denver
Fun fact: Denver has never had a #1 draft pick. Suns are the team with the highest winning percentage to have never won an NBA championship.
X-Factor for Suns: CP3! If Chris Paul can stay healthy and produce at the rate we know he's capable of, then this series is going to be a good one. While he is seen as the leader of the team given his years of play, he needs to perform at that level for the Suns to have a shot.
X-Factor for Nuggets: Rivers, Morris, Campazzo... With the Suns having both Booker and CP3 at their disposal, the Nuggets are going to have to find a way to get their guards involved. Yes Jokic can shoot and do other things, but once he's doubled, or just having a bad game, it could get ugly. And at that time, the others have to step up.
We predict the Nuggets will win this series in 7. By no way, shape, or form do we feel this series is going to be a runaway. The Suns want this too bad. With the career that CP3 has had, there's no way he wants to go home. But I don't see it for them this year. Especially once Jokic gets hot.
NUGGETS IN 7
76ers vs Hawks
Regular season record: 2-1 76ers
These two teams have a rivalry. It's been almost 40 years since they've met in the playoffs. So I'm really interested to see what's going to take place this time around.
X-Factor for 76ers: This is going to be a big deal. But if Embiid to play then it'll be on Dwight Howard to step up to the plate. No one is saying he has to produce at his all star days level, but he needs to at least be quick on his feet.
X-Factor for Hawks: Without a doubt its Trae Young. I don't want to say he is the team because obviously there are other pieces. But he has to continue playing with the grit that he has been for the entire playoffs. When he is on and able to make things happen, the game runs a lot more smoothly. Taking into account that he'll be guarded by Simmons who has a clear size advantage over him, he'll have to use his speed to his advantage.
This series is going to be an interesting one. And if we knew that Embiid would be healthy for the series I feel like it could be over in less than the 6 games we predict. But if he's unable to play then it'll take some rearranging of pieces to combat the weapons Atlanta has.
76ers in 6
Bucks vs Nets
Regular season record: 2-1 Milwaukee
The fact that Milwaukee boasts one player that has won MVP two years in a row and Brooklyn has multiple MVP awards themselves, makes this the series to watch.
X-Factor for Nets: Obviously we know the big 3 are going to be a huge part of their gameplay. But let's not forget about Joe Harris. As we saw in the first round, when the opposing team is guarding the big 3, someone is going to be open, or at least have less pressure on them. That man ends up being Harris. Knowing how good he is from the 3 point line, it's going to need to be stopped ASAP.
X-Factor for Bucks: I think there are a few. But I'll just narrow it down to two big ones. Jrue Holiday!!!! He is a key defensive piece in this series. We all know that once Brooklyn gets out on a break or a lead, it's tough to rein them back in. The other factor will have to be the will power to keep fighting. The Bucks have tendency to let a team get a slight lead and it takes the winds out of their sails...
Yes we know this will be a knockout series. But we're pretty confident that Milwaukee has what it takes to edge out the Nets. But we're pretty sure it's going to go 7 games. The thought of this series being a clean sweep just doesn't feel like something that'll happen. Especially given the immense amount of talent on both teams.
BUCKS IN 7
Those are our predictions for the second round!!!!! Is your team still in the playoffs or on the couch watching? We are excited to continue watching the journey for our next NBA champion!!!!