Breaking Down the Eastern Conference First Round

 

Carmelo and LeBron

Are James and Anthony headed for an Eastern Finals Showdown?

The regular season of the National Basketball Association is now behind us and the playoffs are days away from starting so I’m going to take a couple of days to break down the first round match-ups starting with the Eastern Conference first.

The Eastern Conference playoffs this year are the Miami Heat and ‘you other seven teams.’ If the NBA Playoffs were one-game series I would have no problem calling for an upset or two but they aren’t and never will be. There were in fact many rumors that Atlanta tanked the final games just to avoid the Miami half of the bracket.

Be that as it may, I see this first round in the East being pretty competitive but I’m also seeing the powdery white of chalk for the opening sessions. By the way, New York and Boston start their series on 4/20/13. If it goes seven games it would end on 5/20/13. That’s just ridiculous but I digress… On to the breakdowns.

8 Milwaukee at 1 Miami – It’s very easy to immediately say the Heat will just dust the Bucks away like they are nothing but a mosquito not so fast my friends. Only once since 2003-2004 have the Heat swept an opponent in the first round. Even last year they stumbled once in defeating the Knicks.

With that said, the Heat should not exactly struggle with Milwaukee. Too much experience and too much firepower in this one.

Prediction: Heat in 5

7 Boston at 2 New York – The Boston Celtics have won five straight opening round series while the Knicks have lost two straight opening round series and haven’t won one since the 1999-2000 season.

This is clearly a different Knicks team though and they have to know they are the Eastern Conference’s only legitimate chance of knocking off Miami who they defeated three out of four times this season. They defeated Boston in their three out of four meetings but last played them on March 31st.

Part of me wants to take Boston but I just can’t do it.

Prediction: Knicks in 6

 

Josh Smith
Smith and the Hawks will push the Pacers to the brink in round one.

6 Atlanta at 3 Indiana – These two split their season series with each winning two games. The Hawks won the first two while the Pacers the second two. No one plays defense and rebounds the way Indiana does in the Eastern Conference. It’s the rebounding edge that worries me if I’m a Hawks fan because they don’t rebound well at all.

With that said, if Atlanta can find ways to score and they usually being 2nd in the league in assists, they could put real pressure on the Pacers to match them. I have a feeling this will be one of the more under-rated yet better series of the first round.

Prediction: Pacers in 7

5 Chicago at 4 Brooklyn – The Bulls were 3-1 against the Nets in ’12-’13 and that isn’t by mistake. Chicago is in the top eight in rebounding, assists and points allowed in the NBA but can have trouble scoring.

The Nets rebound and defend pretty well too though and that’s why I think this match-up will be indicative of their latest one where Chicago won 92-90 in Barclays’. I know a lot of Chicago fans think this is where Derrick Rose finally makes an appearance but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

I fully expect this series to go the distance and right down to the wire in game seven.

Prediction: Nets in 7

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