Which second-round fave is a lock?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The 2nd round of the NBA playoffs is well underway, with the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, and Pacers listed as the favorites.
The Spurs are the team that should have the easiest road to the conference finals. The Spurs are a veteran team poised to win a championship. San Antonio has all the ingredients you look for in a championship caliber team and the young, inexperienced Blazers are in for a rude awakening. San Antonio cruised past the Blazers in Game 1, sending a message that Portland has taken a huge step up in competition from the Houston Rockets. The Blazers will have to quickly make adjustments if they plan to make a series of it and Popovich will have his Spurs prepared for anything the Blazers can throw at them. San Antonio will also step up their intensity a notch the deeper they are into the playoffs and especially after battling it out last series with the Mavs.
The Heat versus the Nets, Clippers versus the Thunder, and Wizards versus the Pacers are a little bit more of a tossup. I expect the Heat to move on past the Nets, but I believe the Nets will make it interesting. The Clippers and Thunder could possibly go down to a Game 7 where anything could happen.
The Wizards-Pacers series is an interesting matchup, as the Pacers seem to be struggling a bit in these playoffs. The Pacers are lucky to find themselves in the 2nd round, where as Washington cruised past the Bulls. The Wizards are playing their best ball at the perfect time, and could pull off the upset and win this series.
It's doubtful that all favorites will move on to the conference finals, and for my money the best odds of an upset is the Wizards over the Pacers.