Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma City Thunder: Picking the NBA playoffs

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm •  Published: May 6, 2013

I’m a day late. I didn’t get my second-round NBA playoff picks blogged before Sunday’s games. So I’ll go on the honor system and tell you what I had in mind and how that might have changed after the two games Sunday.

WARRIORS vs. SPURS

Can this be? Golden State hasn’t won in San Antonio since Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest? 1997? Twenty-three games?

So how can the Warriors win a series when it potentially could play four games in San Antone? It’s actually not a terrible matchup for Golden State. The Spurs’ precision offense can give defenses fits, but just about any team can give Golden State’s defense fits. Meanwhile, Golden State’s offense rests on its 3-point shooting, primarily led by Steph Curry.

Golden State will play small, but that doesn’t bother the Spurs. San Antonio can play small rather easily.

Spurs in five.

HEAT vs. BULLS

These Bulls have become one of my all-time favorite teams. No Derrick Rose. Then no Luol Deng and no Kirk Hinrich in the last two games of the series against the Netropolitans. Yet Chicago won in seven games, because of commitment to doing things right.

Chicago has no chance against Miami, of course, but the Bulls will make it interesting. Might even win a game and keep the Heat from dreaming about a 16-0 run through the playoffs.

Heat in five.

KNICKERBOCKERS vs. PACERS

Before the series, I had Indiana in six. I like the looks of that now, after the Pacers’ dominating victory in Game 1.

The Knicks are a mess of a team. Carmelo Anthony is a black hole, and the New York defense has holes, despite Tyson Chandler in the middle. Some dilbert voted Carmelo the NBA MVP, ahead of LeBron, but Carmelo isn’t even the best player in this series. Paul George is.

Anthony isn’t likely to get hot, but J.R. Smith could.

Pacers in six.

THUNDER vs. GRIZZLIES

Before the series, I had Memphis in five. I just didn’t see enough offensive flow, in the wake of the Russell Westbrook injury, for the Thunder to stick with the Grizzlies. But Game 1 encouraged me. The Thunder offense was decent, after an opening drought, and the Thunder defense was solid.

You could argue that more Thunder players can elevate their game from the opener than Grizzlies. Serge Ibaka, 1-of-10, notably. I’m still picking Memphis, but this is going to be a good series.

Grizzlies in six.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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