NBA Playoff Preview: Eastern Conference
The NBA playoff match-ups are finally set, and the Eastern Conference was interesting, to say the least, heading into the final night of the regular season. There were still seeds up for grabs, including the 8th seed. The Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers were battling for that final spot, but Brooklyn edged Indiana because they owned the tie-breaker. Here are the match-ups for the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs:
(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (8) Brooklyn Nets
This series should be an interesting one because of how both teams like to play. Both teams have guards that can shoot, and they like to feed their big men down low. Atlanta plays formidable defense. which is going to be a challenge for Brooklyn to handle. Another thing, the Hawks don’t have that one guy that they rely on in crunch time because it is always someone new every night, so Brooklyn will have a hard time figuring out who Atlanta will go to in crunch time situations.
I have this series going the Hawks way in 5 games. I think that Brooklyn will win a game at home, but I just don’t think they will be able to keep up with the Hawks because of their ability to shoot the ball and play physical in the paint.
(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (7) Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are entering the playoffs with a losing record, and they are set to face off against the Cavaliers. Boston looked out of contention after they traded away their big name players in January, and they were expected to be a lottery pick. But the Celtics have actually been one of the better defensive teams since February. The Celtics have ranked 8th in defense since they made those trades, one of which included sending Rajon Rando to Dallas.
The Celtics will be a tough challenger for the Cavaliers, but I have Cleveland sweeping the series because of their talent and team chemistry. Cleveland wins the size battle and the talent battle, and if the Celtics want to pull out a series victory, they will have to play way beyond their potential the entire series.
(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks
The Chicago Bulls have been injury riddled all season long and have limped into the playoffs. Derrick Rose has finally made another return to the court after a knee injury. This injury was only minor and had Rose sidelined for 6 weeks. Chicago has had other players step up to try to replace Rose’s production like Jimmy Butler, Aaron Brooks, Pau Gasol, and Nikola Mirotic. Out of all these players, Mirotic has stepped up the most. He has taken games over in the 4th quarter, and led the Bulls to victory. In the month of March, Mirotic led the NBA in 4th quarter points.
The Bucks are young and stocked full of talent. This team is going to compete for Eastern Conference titles over the next 5-8 years. They have great guards, like Michael Carter-Williams, who can take games over through his scoring ability and passing ability. I have the Bulls winning this series in 6 games, but I could see Milwaukee pull this series out if they play smart and don’t turn the ball over.
(4) Toronto Raptors vs. (5) Washington Wizards
The Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards actually match up fairly well against each other. The difference in this series will be the backcourts. Whichever backcourt plays better will win because that is how both teams are built. Toronto has Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and Washington has John Wall and Bradley Beal. These teams are going to face off extremely well, and it will be interesting to see which teams big men step up on the glass and on the defensive end of the court.
I think that this series will go 6 games in favor of the Toronto Raptors. I just think that Toronto has a better team than Washington does. Washington relies on the play of John Wall. Wall can take over games; However, I am unsure as to whether or not he can take over a series and lead his team to victory.