When Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA Playoffs lost one of its biggest stars. Since Rose went down and the Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic, the second round became destined to disappoint.
Eastern Conference Matchups Will Bore Fans
Without Rose and Magic center Dwight Howard, the Eastern Conference matchups lack the flare that many hoped for in a conference semifinal.
The Boston Celtics defeated the 76ers in a tight-fought game to take the early series lead, but both teams lack consistent scoring for national fans to gravitate to their televisions.
Celtics fans will be glued in to see if their aging and injured stars can withstand the young, fast and energetic 76ers in order to avenge last year’s loss to the Miami Heat.
The 76ers fans will tune in to see if their young core can play disciplined basketball and use their first round victory as the spark needed to return to the form they showed at the beginning of the season.
However, outside of Boston and Philadelphia, this series will struggle to draw fans.
Heat Destined for the Conference Finals
The other Eastern Conference series could be a sweep.
What will the Eastern Conference Finals matchup be?
The Pacers have a solid core and were able to put together their best season since Reggie Miller and Ron Artest took the Pacers to the conference finals in 2004.
However, without an elite player or a defensive scheme that can lock down James and Wade, the Pacers will struggle to win a single game against the Heat.
Get your brooms ready, Heat fans.
Both Western Conference Matchups Feature Youth vs. Veterans
The Western Conference may not be suffering because of injuries, but with the defending champs knocked out of the playoffs and two aging teams in the semifinals, there is less intrigue than usual in what used to be a stacked Western Conference.
With one series one spot still up in the air, there is at least a chance that if the Clippers can advance then at least there will be star power out west.
The L.A. Lakers are getting back Metta World Peace from suspension, but they will struggle to keep up with the energetic Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder have the ability to score in droves and will make it extremely difficult on the Lakers to keep up.
Will this be the year the Thunder advance to the NBA Finals
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are impossible to defend.
Even with Metta World Peace returning, he will be rusty and though he may be able to slow down one of the Thunder’s scorers, he can’t stop them all.
Kobe Bryant can still score, but at 33 years old he will have a hard time defending the younger, faster Thunder players.
Though Kendrick Perkins is questionable to return, Serge Ibaka is one of the best interior defenders in the NBA and provides rotational help when the guards get beat off the dribble.
Ibaka isn’t a dominant scorer, but he is averaging 11 points and over three blocks per game in the playoffs.
Even without Perkins, Nick Collison provides valuable interior defense and rebounding when the Thunder play big. When the Thunder play small they are almost impossible to defend.
Other than the story surrounding Metta and Harden playing against each for the first time since the elbowing incident, this series will end up being a letdown for NBA fans.
Aging Spurs Face Young Opponent
The last series showcases the San Antonio Spurs against either the L.A. Clippers or the Memphis Grizzlies.
Hopefully for NBA fans the Clippers will prevail in Game 7 and at least provide some star power.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have turned L.A. into a two-team city, but they lack the scoring needed to defeat the tight, defensive-oriented Spurs.
While it is nice to see the Clippers franchise having some success, they aren’t quite there yet. Next year, if they are able to add another piece they could be championship caliber, but not now.
If the Grizzlies advance, it would at least provide the revenge angle. Last year the Grizzlies managed to upset the top-seeded Spurs in the first round.
However, this year’s Spurs team has found the fountain of youth and looks like they are destined to play for their fifth NBA Championship.
Greg Popovich my bore the casual fan, but the Spurs are a great team and will quickly defeat whomever they face.
Overall, the second round may entertain the more devoted NBA fans, but the casual fans will be disappointed by the matchups.