Posted: Wednesday May 19, 1999 06:19 PM
Sports Illustrated's Marty Burns breaks down the second-round playoff
#2 BLAZERS vs. #3 JAZZ
How they got here: Blazers d. Suns, 3-0; Jazz d. Kings, 3-2.
Season series: Jazz, 2-1.
Matchup to watch:
Blazers G Isaiah
Rider vs. Jazz G Jeff
Hornacek. Rider is big, strong and capable of going off for 25 points a
game, but the savvy Hornacek always seems to do well against Portland.
Blazers win if: F Brian Grant can stay out
of foul trouble against Karl Malone, G Damon Stoudamire can
chip in 10-15 points per game and Portland can force Utah into an uptempo
Jazz win if: Malone can slow Grant better than
he did Vlade Divac, the
bench at least partially offsets Portland's deep reserve corps, and C Greg Ostertag doesn't
fall for too many Arvydas
Sabonis ball fakes.
The X-factor: Blazers F Rasheed Wallace. He has
the size and explosiveness to give the Jazz fits, but his lack of playoff
experience could show up here.
Prediction: Jazz in six.
#1 SPURS vs. #4 LAKERS
How they got here: Spurs d.
Timberwolves, 3-1 in first round; Lakers d. Rockets, 3-1 in first round.
Season series: Lakers, 2-1
Matchup to watch:
Spurs C David Robinson
vs. Lakers C Shaquille
O'Neal. Legend has it that Shaq, who attended high school in San
Antonio, once had his autograph request snubbed by the Admiral. Will he get
revenge, or another trip home empty-handed?
Spurs win if: G
continues to knock down open jumpers, F Tim Duncan stays out of
foul trouble and Dennis
Rodman doesn't come out of the Forum crowd, take off his shoes and sit
on the San Antonio bench for old-times' sake.
Lakers win if:
Robert Horry and J.R. Reid can keep Tim
Duncan under 25 points per game, Glen Rice's sore elbow
doesn't flare up, and Shaq hits just a few foul shots down the stretch.
The X factor: Lakers G Derek Fisher. His
defense against Spurs setup man Avery Johnson will be key, as will his
ability to knock down open jumpers when the Spurs double team Shaq down
Prediction: Spurs in seven.
#4 HAWKS vs. #8 KNICKS
How they got here: Hawks d. Pistons, 3-2 in first round; Knicks d.
Heat, 3-2 in first round.
Season series: Hawks, 2-1.
Matchup to watch: Hawks C Dikembe Mutombo vs.
Knicks C Patrick
Ewing. Even with a sore achilles and creaky knees, the 36-year-old
Ewing was able to get the better of Alonzo Mourning. Can the
old master make it two in a row over former Georgetown pupils?
Hawks win if: The bench contributes 20-25 points per game and coach
Lenny Wilkens does something crazy to ignite them, like put his fist
through a locker room blackboard.
Knicks win if: C Patrick
Ewing continues to move the ball on offense, G Charlie Ward watches out
for Mookie Blaylock in
the passing lanes and the whole team crashes the boards on consistent
The X-factor: Knicks G Latrell Sprewell. His
quickness and energy have given New York another dimension. If he plays
well, they win this series.
Prediction: Knicks in six.
#2 PACERS vs. #6 SIXERS
How they got here: Pacers
d. Bucks, 3-0 in first round; 76ers d. Magic, 3-1 in first round.
Season series: 76ers, 2-1.
Matchup to watch: Pacers G Reggie Miller vs. 76ers G
Although they won't guard each other, the 6'7" Miller and the
6'0" Iverson are their teams respective go-to guys and big-shot
makers. With the game on the line, both are lethal weapons.
win if: Gs Mark
Jackson and Travis
Best can keep Iverson under 30 points per game, C Rik Smits can provide an
inside presence and they limit Philly's second chances off the offensive
Sixers win if: F Larry Hughes continues
to play like Scottie
Pippen, the bench chips in with 20-25 points per game and owner Pat
Croce doesn't fall out of his skybox while cheering them on.
X-factor: 76ers G Eric Snow. After helping
stifle Orlando's Penny Hardaway, and adding 13.0 points and 6.3 assists, he
should have confidence against Miller & Co. But he needs to knock down
open shots for the 76ers to have a chance.
Prediction: Pacers in
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