Eastern Conference Playoff Picture: Bulls, Heat and then Everyone Else
Yesterday we looked at the Western Conference Playoff Picture and how the teams matched up as of yesterday’s standings. Now let’s do the same for the East.
1 vs. 8-New York vs. Chicago. Although the Knicks are a lot more talented than your typical 8th seed, the Bulls are just too good. With likely MVP Derrick Rose leading the way and with Luol Deg, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and co. the Bulls are a legit Finals contender. Look for the Knicks to battle in some of the games but I see Bulls in five.
2 vs. 7-Philadelphia vs. Miami. Philly is one of the big surprises this season. They’ve been competitive all year and will give the Heat a series. But D-Wade, Lebron, Bosh and the boys are just too talented. This series could tell us just how focused Miami is to get back to the Finals and kick down the door. If they sweep the Sixers rather easily, watch out. If they struggle and Philly wins a couple, this could be a bad sign.
3 vs. 6-Indiana vs. Atlanta. Talk about surprise teams? Indiana. Where did you come from? Last year the Pacers were a number 8 seed, this year they are all the way to #3? Nice job by the Pacers. Atlanta is very talented but also very Jekyll-Hyde. They’ll win some games from the Pacers, but probably not four of them. I see the Pacers in six.
4 vs. 5- Orlando vs. Boston. The Magic is a train wreck. It was officially blown up and they are now mailing it in. In fact they could screw up all these match-ups as they sink further into oblivion. But let’s say the stay where they are: Boston has owned them all year. They come back on the road down by nearly 30. They beat them like a rented mule at home. Celtics in four.
Boston vs. Chicago. Wouldn’t it be great if we got some more games like the ones when these two last met in the playoffs? But with the Celtics aging and the Bulls peaking, I doubt that happens. In fact, I doubt the C’s put up much of a fight. Bulls in five.
Indiana vs. Miami. This series could be an interesting one. Indy is an up and coming team and could give Miami some match up problems. They have size with Roy Hibbert, something Miami lacks. And they have young legs with guys like Tyler Hansbrough. I see them giving the Heat a bit of trouble. Heat in six.
Miami vs. Chicago. This one will be a slobber-knocker of a series. Either way it goes won’t be a surprise. I think it’s going seven games and for no other reason other than home court, I’m going with the Bulls. But Miami will be a very tough out. Whoever gets out of this series most likely won’t have enough left in the tank for Oklahoma City.
Chicago vs. Oklahoma City. The Thunder with Durant and Westbrook will have a bit too much for Chicago. Thunder in six.