2019 WBA Playoff second round predictions
by Timmy Frenchy
The first round provided exciting matchups in the World Conference. Although it was predicted that some series would be tightly contested, it is still a surprise that the top team exited right away.
Mexico City Hellcats vs Gabon Giants
(Mexico City won season series 3-1)
It is the first time an 8th seeded vanquish the top seed in WBA modern day history. But these two teams were not that far apart talent wise. Cancun losing Trentesols for this series combining by the heroic return of Dao were the missing ingredients for the Hellcats to create the perfect Storm. They held the Outlaws to 92 points per game, a team that average more than 103 points in regular season. Chris Dao averaged 25 points in only 30 minutes, showing off how efficient he is.
Impressive performance by the Giants in the first round. They dismantled a talented Albacete Burning Hell squad in only 4 games. Not a single game was even close as 4 Gabon’s players scored 17 pts per game or more. Napoleon even cap this one with a career high 41 points in the last game of the series. Giants fans might want to contain their excitement as maintaining this level of play is highly improbable. Still, it is nice for them to celebrate Gabon 1st playoffs series victory in the last 3 seasons.
Hellcats matchup very well against the Giants as they only lost once this season against them, a game decided by only 3 points. And let us mention that Dao was absent that day. Both teams come in full steam after great performances in the first round. Which team will maintain that momentum? Which team will adjust better over the course of a potential long battle? It looks like a flip coin. Maybe homecourt and Gabon crazy fans could be the x-factor here. Maybe not.
Prediction: Mexico City over Gabon in 7 games.
Milan Mayhem vs Barcelona Counts
(Barcelona won season series 2-1)
Barcelona was really tested by Cape town in the first round, and they came out on top. They only took a lead in the series after game 5, and it needed 7 games to be settle. Zulus playoffs experience along with Gordon willpower almost got the best of this young and less experience Counts squad. But it is past them now, and Primo & Co may have gained the confidence to go even deeper in these playoffs.
What a relief for Milan management when the buzzer sounded at the end of game 7. Acklin from Moscow just missed a 3 pts shoot that could have tied it. After losing game 5 and falling behind 3 games to 2 against a young and explosive Snow Bears team, it looked like this season was over for the Mayhem. Eufrazio was stellar in game 6 (29 pts, 15 reb, 5 ast) and in game 7 (27 pts, 14 reb, 6 blks) as the Mayhem showed poised to survive this fight.
These 2 teams just both finished difficult 1st round. The Counts have home court and a deeper team, but the Mayhem still have more experience. Looks like we’re in for another long battle that could be decided just before the buzzer sound in game 7. Look for Mayhem top guns to make the difference when it counts.
Prediction: Milan over Barcelona in 7 games
Some lopsided matchups made these first round series short. Two matchups ended in a sweep and no series needed more than 5 games to determine the winner.
Kansas City Blues vs Brooklyn Rage
(Brooklyn won season series 3-1)
As predicted, the Rage had no problem handling the Firestorm, winning every game of the series by an average of 26 points. Brooklyn had 7 players scoring double digit points per game in this series. Tyrus Mayes came back in game 3 after missing all games since late February because of a concussion. He looks healthy again and should be useful for Brooklyn in their upcoming challenge.
Kansas City took care of business in the first round, winning the series in 5 games. Walt Jackson was particularly efficient against Boston, scoring 27 points per game while shooting .500 from the downtown. This squad is healthy and will even have a few days to rest before facing their biggest challenge this season.
The Blues only won once in regular season against the Rage, and all three games they lost were blowouts. Jackson and Sims are excellent scoring big men, but they should be partially held in check by Miles and Mayes superb defense. Kansas City could be able to steal one or two games, but Brooklyn superior talent will prevail.
Prediction: Brooklyn over Kansas City in 5
Colorado Pioneers vs California Fighting Cocks
(season series split 2-2)
Even without Kurt Beck, the Fighting Cocks were dominant against the Rainmakers in the first round. That series ended with a perfect 4-0 for California where games were won by an average of 27 points. Hassan Watts picked up the scoring slack averaging 6 more points compared to his regular season. Beck absence was a non-factor against Seattle, but it could be a difference-maker in the second round.
It felt like a walk in the park for the Pioneers in their first-round against Gamblers. Colorado limited Las Vegas to only 61 points in game 1, crushing their spirit right from the get-go. Darond Lyons & Co had total control on this series that ended in 5 games. Pioneers are healthy and ready for the next round.
As good a team the Pioneers are, the Fighting Cocks are the best team on paper. Their depth is incredible and that’s exactly what Colorado lacks. But Beck’s absence could change everything. Divine Devine and Lyons will need some huge games to push that series to seven games, and hope they get lucky if they get there. With that said, it still looks like California will punch back-to-back tickets for the Conference Finals.
Prediction: California over Colorado in 7