The regular season is done and finally we know now what the first round match-ups are. Let’s look at each Eastern Conference series and give our predictions.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks- This is the number one vs number eight match-up, an like many of these it is a mismatch. he Heat finished the regular season at 66-16 while the Bucks wound up 38-44. Milwaukee skidded to the finish line, losing seven of the last ten games.
Miami is loaded with superstars such as Lebron James (26.8 points per game), Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen. They also have very good role players such as Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. They have been playing better as the season has gone on, one time winning 27 in a row.
Milwaukee relies heavily on Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. New addition J.J. Redick gives them on outside threat. Still, they have no shot against the Heat. Miami wins in four.
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics- The number two seed Knicks take on one of their most bitter rivals, the seventh seeded Celtics. This is not a typical two vs seven match. The Celtics are a dangerous seven seed with a lot of talent and playoff experience. Boston tends to not take the regular season all that seriously. They know they can win on the road, so as lo g as they are in the top eight, they are happy with that.
Boston has Paul Pierce (18.6 points) and Kevin Garnett with plenty of championship experience and now have some youth to go along with that in Jeff Green. The Knicks counter with this year’s scoring champion, Carmelo Anthony (28.7 points per game) along with J.R. Smith, Amare Stoudamire, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak. The Knicks were red hot down the stretch, at one time recently winning 13 in a row. New York wins this one in six games.
Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks- The number three Pacers take on the sixth seeded Hawks in what should be a good series. The Hawks are led by Al Horford and Josh Smith who both average over 17 points per game. The Pacers counter with Paul George (17.4 per game), George Hill and Roy Hibbert. Hibbert will be a match-up problem for the Hawks who don’t have a tall center to go against him.
The Hawks ended the season at 44-38 while the Pacers finished 49-32. We like the Pacers in six games.
Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls- This is the number four vs number five match. The Nets finished at 49-33 while the Bulls were 45-37.
The Nets are in the playoffs for the first time in a long while and the Borough of Brooklyn is hosting a major sports playoff for the first time since the 1950s. Fan excitement will be very high for the games in the Barclay’s Center.
Brooklyn is led by Brook Lopez (19.4) and Deron Williams (18.9) along with J0e Johnson. At times the Nets look very good but many times they look very average. Williams had an up and down season as well, battling various injuries.
The Bulls did an admirable job this year lead by Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. They went the entire year without their superstar point guard Derrick Rose who tore his ACL this tine a year ago. He has still not returned to the Bulls lineup. Chicago fans have been eagerly awaiting his return since the All-Star break. But with this distraction, the Bulls still made the playoffs.
The Bulls will be a tough out for the Nets. We think they will beat the Nets in seven games.