The NBA postseason has arrived. After 82 regular season games, eight teams remain in each conference to battle for their conference title and represent their conference in the NBA Finals.
Reaching to the finals is no easy task. San Antonio the defending NBA Champions needed seven games to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in just the first round last season.
Two seasons ago, Miami went seven games with Indiana to reach the NBA finals, and then pulled off a miracle to win the finals over San Antonio.
Three seasons ago, San Antonio the top seed in the NBA was 2-0 in front of Oklahoma City. The Thunder then won 4 straight to eliminate the Spurs and went up 1-0 on Miami in the finals. Miami turned around and won 4 straight to win the title.
Here is a look at the top three Eastern Conference contenders as we head to the postseason.
The Cavaliers started their season slow with so many new pieces to put together. However, with the talent of LeBron James the team came together and has played better than any team in the East since the All-Star break. With their trio of superstars – James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love – the Cavaliers might not be the No. 1 seed, but are the odds on favorite to win the conference title.
Just last season the Hawks were 38-44. The backcourt is the leader with Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague. Add to the mix Paul Milsap and Al Horford and you have four players averaging between 15 and 17 points per game.
The team has remained healthy up front during the season, which has helped, as Horford was out injured most of last season. The bench has also been outstanding. Prior to the All-Star break, they were 36-5 but have not played near that since.
The Bulls are a tough team to figure out. If they could all get healthy at the same time, they would be a big force in the East. With newcomers Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls offense has improved this season. However, their defense remains their biggest strength and the team’s heart and soul.
With Derrick Rose back and Joakim Noah and the rest of the frontcourt playing physical, the Bulls could go deep in the postseason because defense is so important.
2015 Eastern Conference Odds
Cleveland Cavaliers 1 to 3
Atlanta Hawks 7 to 2
Chicago Bulls 8 to 1
Toronto Raptors 30 to 1
Washington Wizards 30 to 1
Indiana Pacers 50 to 1
Boston Celtics 75 to 1
Brooklyn Nets 100 to 1
Milwaukee Bucks 100 to 1