NBA’s Top Teams Advance to Second Round

By: Nicholas Jacquin, Sports Writer

Source: espn.com

The month of May is full of action in the world of sports.  With Major League Baseball in full swing and the NFL draft just being wrapped up, the NHL and NBA Playoffs are on to the second round.  

This year’s NBA Playoffs features many different teams capable of taking home the title.  Could it be LeBron James and the reigning champs, Cleveland Cavaliers, or the Boston Celtics, being led by young star Isaiah Thomas making it out of the Eastern Conference?  Or, will some other team step up and knock them out?

On the Western side of the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs look to win their respective series and once again square off for the chance to head to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics took care of business in their first round matchup against the Chicago Bulls.  After falling behind 2-0 in the series, they were able to win the next four to move on.  They were led by Thomas, who although had a great series on the court, struggled with some tough news off the court.  His younger sister Chyna passed away tragically in a car crash and Thomas was able to somehow overcome the loss to play an unbelievable series.  They face the Washington Wizards in the second round.

Cleveland, coming off their first NBA Title, squared off against the Indiana Pacers in the first round.  Led by James, they were unstoppable and he was able to get his teammates involved.  

The Cavalier’s bench players had a productive series overall and emerged as a reliable option for the remainder of the playoffs.  Deron Williams came off the bench, and flashed signs of his All-Star past.  They will certainly be a tough out and look to be the favorites to make it back to the Finals if they can make it past the Toronto Raptors.

While the Warriors are the top team in the West, they do have some concerns as they reach the second round.  Despite sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in four games, they do face some obstacles.  They remain without their head coach in Steve Kerr, as he deals with complications from a cerebral spinal fluid leak and it is uncertain if he will even return this season.  

Kevin Durant is also returning from injury, but he should be ready to go for the second round.  Golden State will look to make it back to the Finals to make up for blowing last year’s 3-1 series lead to the Cavaliers.  They face the Utah Jazz in round two.
The last top team looking to make a deep run is the San Antonio Spurs.  Despite losing veteran Tim Duncan to retirement this year, the Spurs once again have a team capable of going all the way.  After finishing off the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, they face a tough test in the Houston Rockets in the second round.  If they are able to make it past them, led by James Harden, they could potentially play the Warriors in the Conference Final.  It would be a tough test for San Antonio but never count them out.  We will see how it all turns out in the coming weeks.