In the 1977 Movie Pumping Iron, someone says to Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The wolf climbing the hill is always hungrier than the wolf on top of the hill” Arnold responds in calm cocky manner and says, “That is true but when the wolf on top of the hill is hungry the food is always there.”
This pretty much describes the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Every team is “gunning” for LeBron James (The wolf on the top of the mountain). In the documentary, Arnold goes on to win 7 Mr. Olympia Contests. Coincidentally, James is trying to get to his 7th straight NBA Finals. The two teams with the best chance to stop James… Boston or Washington.
#1 Boston Celtics vs #3 Washington Wizards:
The Celtics were “dead in the water” after losing their first two games at home to the Chicago Bulls. But as the third game approached, a miracle happened, Rajon Rondo hurt his thumb and missed the rest of the series. Chicago lost 4 straight. With Rondo in the lineup, for those first two games, the Bulls averaged 108 points… without him, they averaged 93. To Boston’s credit, they became one of only 4 teams in the history of the NBA to win a series after losing their first two games at home. Isaiah Thomas led the team with 23 points per game. Avery Bradley and Al Horford combined for 31 points during the six-game series. Horford was really a point forward, averaging 6.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game.
I had the Celtics winning their series in 6 games and Washington winning in 7 games. The Wizards defeated a feisty Atlanta Hawks team in 6 games. Washington was really a two man show. John Wall averaged 29.5 points, 10.5 assists and 4 rebounds per game. Bradley Beal averaged 25.3 points and 2.33 steals per game. Beal provided great defense and is emerging as a very good two-way player. Otto Porter only averaged 9 points per game in the series and he will have to step up if the Wizards want to get to the conference finals.
Prediction: This is going to be a great battle at the two guard position. Beal and Bradley will be going to war against each other. Who ever comes out a winner of that matchup should help his team advance.
Wall will outplay Thomas, but this series will be predicated on the role players. Whichever bench plays better that team will win. Bojan Bogdanovic, Kelly Oubre Jr. and former New York Knicks guard, Brandon Jennings should have a huge role in this series.
Take the Wizards in 6 games but I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes 7.
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