I really do not trust the Hawks in this spot. However they are so jeckyll and hyde as a basketball team particularly throughout this entire series that it would’t surprise me if their shooters get hot once again and take a deciding Game 7. They do also have the prospect knowing they have won 3 of the last 4 meetings at Conseco Fieldhouse. Ultimately I’m going to cautiously trust the #1 seed Indiana Pacers to figure out somehow, someway to get out this series alive and move on to bigger fish. Simply put, you cannot pay me to trust the Atlanta Hawks. They are who they are for a reason.
PICK: Pacers 98 – 89
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
No Zack Randolph. A banged up Michael Conley. A season hanging in the balance for both teams. At least Oklahoma City will be comforted knowing they will decide their championship hopes in their building. With Kevin Durant finally having a 36 point breakthrough in Game 6 expect a much more confident and should I say, “reliable” KD for Game 7.
PICK: Thunder 97-80
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
Aside from playing alongside the Donald Sterling fiasco/backdrop the last 7 days, this has been an excellent series from start to finish. Both teams come into this game with a lot on the line. With so much speculation on his job status, for Golden State, this could be head coach Mark Jackson’s final game on the sidelines with the Warriors. For the Clippers another first round exit will be yet another unneeded distraction for this franchise and a blow to their best chance in franchise history to truly compete for an NBA championship.
PICK: Clippers 110 – 104
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
It’s not surprising that this series is as close as it is. Familiarity alone gave the Mavericks one hell of a shot to give the Spurs issues but you’re lying to yourself if you predicted Dallas would push San Antonio to the limit. Clearly the Mavs are much better than their #8 seeding indicates and given the fact they have won a game on the road this series it really isn’t far fetched to see them doing it one more time. I just trust the Spurs more in this spot as they are on a mission to right the wrong from last year’s NBA Finals.
PICK: Spurs 95 – 90
Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors
The most underrated first round series has the veteran savvy Nets traveling North of the border to break the hearts of the young upstarts in Toronto. The Raptors are kind of in that category like the Atlanta Hawks in terms of the trust factor. The truth is this team has overachieved this season and in this series for that matter and if they are to win Game 7, albeit on their home court they need more scoring from other guys not named Demar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry. I expect Brooklyn’s experience to win out but will not be shocked if Toronto can win their first series in almost 14 years.
PICK: Brooklyn 93 – 91