Despite a small scare for the Lakers and a big one for the Hawks, the first round of the NBA playoffs went as expected, as evidenced by generally solid performances by RCS prognosticators. Everyone except Sam and Kyle thought the Thunder would take the Lakers to six games. And three of us correctly picked the Utah win over Denver. However, we weren't perfect. We all underestimated the Spurs, and we all expected the Hawks to cruise against the short-handed Bucks. Here's where we stand after the opening round (full first round picks here), with the series we missed in parentheses:
1. Kyle Adams 7-1 (Mavericks-Spurs)
1. Jeff Briggs 7-1 (Mavericks-Spurs)
1. Samuel Chi 7-1 (Mavericks-Spurs)
4. Robbie Gillies 6-2 (Mavericks-Spurs; Nuggets-Jazz)
5. Tanner Munroe 5-3 (Mavericks-Spurs; Nuggets-Jazz; Celtics-Heat)
As the second round gets underway, we welcome the beginning of the "real" playoffs. The pretenders, just thankful to extend their season an extra week, are gone, and all the teams remaining could make a credible case as a title contender (OK, maybe Utah and Atlanta are a stretch). The intensity will pick up, and there are no easy match-ups. Teams that cruised in the first round will suddenly get a hard dose of reality against serious competition. And if the normal excitement of the playoffs isn't enough, we have several extra-compelling match-ups, including one epic rivalry (Suns-Spurs) and one possible "passing-of-the-torch" series (Cavaliers-Celtics).
We've been posting second round predictions as they're set, but in an attempt to bring some order to the process, we've included links below to all the series pages. Check out our picks, and let us know where you think we're wrong or right. We welcome trash talk.