With two more rounds of playoffs complete in both basketball and hockey, Jaime makes her picks for the next set of series.
If you live in L.A. you’ve got to be fired up about sports right now. Three teams moving on to the next round of playoffs and all of them playing at the Staples Center. I mean, they’re running double headers all week just to accommodate it. Kings, Lakers, Clips. Sports junkies might as well just grab a tent and stake the place out, catch a baseball game on the side. There is no shortage of action in Lala land this week.
But L.A. isn’t the only action-packed place. Two rounds of playoff series wrapped up this weekend and we’re into a whole new set of series to watch. Between the conference finals in hockey and the quarterfinals in basketball there is a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it with… Kings vs. Coyotes If you know me at all, you know I love an underdog and both these teams fit the bill. Phoenix wasn’t even supposed to make the playoffs, let alone be in the conference finals, and L.A. came into the postseason as an eighth seed, upsetting the number one and two teams to get where they are today. And they did it in only nine games! They’ll be looking to complete the top dog sweep by knocking off number three Phoenix, but they’ll have to get past Mike Smith, who has been a brick wall between the posts. Tough series to call but I’m saying Coyotes in seven. Rangers vs. Devils Major mid-nineties flashback right here. These guys haven’t met up since ’94 when the Rangers came back, down two games to three on a game six Mark Messier hat trick and a double-overtime game seven goal by Stéphane Matteau. And who, pray tell, did they score those on? Why, none other than the amazing ageless Martin Brodeur. He’s still between the pipes for the Devils and I think we’re in for another wild ride, but I’ll say history repeats itself and give it to the Rangers in seven. Lakers vs. Thunder Okay, over to basketball. This series is going to be all about World Peace. Metta World Peace, that is, and how he wasn’t very true to his new name when he elbowed James Harden upside the head. But the Lakers would be better off worrying less about World Peace and more about the Thunder. They have maybe the best trio in the game in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden and they’re all well rested. But will they also be a little rusty? Maybe, but they’ll shake that off and take this series in seven games. Clippers vs. Spurs The Spurs have silenced some of the doubters who said the team was done after last year’s loss to Memphis. They swept Utah in four quick games and barely broke a sweat. I don’t think the Clippers will be cast aside so easily, but they’re dealing with some pretty serious injury issues to both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and their supporting cast has struggled to pick up the slack. I think the Spurs’ experience will come out on top here in another short series. Five games for San Antonio. Celtics vs. Sixers If we look back to the regular season series between these two talented teams, we will notice that the home team always won and I’m going to stick with that pattern and give the edge to the Celtics. I’ve got a feeling this is the series we see Rondo catch fire and that spells trouble for any team. He stepped up at the end of the first round with a triple-double and I think the fun will continue for the young guard. Celtics in seven. Heat vs. Pacers Before Bosh went down indefinitely I’d have said this was a lock for the Heat, but without him, they are undersized up front. Though the Heat’s winning percentage drops pretty dramatically when Bosh is out, I don’t think the newly crowned MVP LeBron James and the ever-popular Dwyane Wade will let this one slip away. They can’t really. It will ruin them if they lose. Very few people outside Miami like LeBron these days and they won’t even like him there if he loses another playoff series. The Heat have to win this one…and the next one…and the one after that. Nothing short of a title will satisfy South Floridians and further infuriate everyone else. Heat in six.