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Mandii B First Round Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions
It’s that time again! Probably the best time of the year in my book. Not because classes are ending or because Summer time is creeping right around the corner. But it is time for the NBA PLAYOFFS!!
Last year I did my predictions and a few of you liked my choices and while others debated. Check out my Eastern Conference first round predictions below. I will be doing this for each round up until the NBA Finals! For Western Conference Predictions from @NBAMistress herself click here
The Sixers were my possible “Cinderella”/Shocker of the East as they played with much intensity and quickness all season, HOWEVER the Bulls have remained the #1 team in the East despite being Roseless for about 2/3 of the season. Rose has sat out with an injury to just about every ligament of his body (not literally) and with that, the Bulls have stepped up. CJ Watson has stepped up the point guard to lead the team and Deng has stepped up. With the addition of Boozer and Noah and the post, these guys aren’t easy to get past in the paint. Then there’s John Lucas who I like to compare to Jamal Crawford or a modern day Darryl Armstrong. Lucas will come off the bench and score. He will give them that extra boost off the bench. Not only are the Bulls just the better overall team, they now have reason to beat to the Sixer as Evans Turner thinks the Miami Heat is actually the more “tougher team to beat”.This one will be good but not close. The Bulls will win in 5.
This series will most certainly be the best of the East in the first round. While Carmelo Anthony is coming off the best month everr, the Knicks are something to worry about. I wouldn’t have said this in the beginning of the season, but with how the Knicks have been playing under Mike Woodson, the more confident rookie Shumpert, the bit more consistent JR Smith, and the guy who NEVER seems to miss behind the arch Novac, this team isn’t going out without a fight. Also count in Amare Stoudemire who is back from injury. Now after all this praise, you ask why I have the Heat winning? Because they’re the Miami Heat. The Heat have THE MOST to prove this year in the playoffs after their bust in the finals last year. The Heat is the Finals favorite and they have the most to lose. I don’t see Lebron allowing them to get out in the first round. Let’s not discuss who’s more clutch. The Heat are hungry. Despite lacking a bench, the hunger and willingness of James and Wade with a dash of Bosh can surpass that. Wouldn’t surprise me if Heat’s vets such as Battier and Howard come off the bench strong and add to the Big 3.
Don’t throw stones at me fellow Magic fans. Despite the Magic winning the regular season series between them 3-1, there’s one major difference- the Magic played with Dwight Howard. Howard will sit out during the first round of the Playoffs due to recovering from back surgery. During the regular season Howard averaged 23.7 points and 10.5 rebound against the Indiana Pacers. Without the Magic big man, I just don’t see them pulling this one off. The team as a whole is just not consistent and I don’t see one particular player on the Magic that could step up to lead them to the second round. Not Jameer Nelson, not Big Baby, not Ryan Anderson, not JRich and let’s not even mention the lack of a bench in Orlando. While they’re still a dangerous team without Howard, I don’t see it as much of a match against these Pacers who have bullied their way to the #3 seed. Pacer’s All Star player Big man Hibbert standing at 7’2 won’t have much trouble posting up against and defending a much smaller and much less physical player Glen Davis.Paul George and Danny Granger will be able to attack and defend the beyond the arch against the Magic. The Magic will attempt their numbers behind the 3 pt line where they live and die by the 3. But again, without Howard distracting the defenders in the post, the Pacers will have no problem stretching the floor defensively, giving the Magic a much more difficult road to the second round.
I got to give it to these old guys, they still got game. The Hawks just don’t tickle my fancy and they will fall short against this more experienced Boston team. Rondo has been playing exceptionally well and will finish the series with 2 if not 3 triple doubles. Both teams are great defenders however the Hawks will finally miss their injured soldier, All Star Al Horford in the playoffs. Little is to be predicted with Kevin Garnett (Can we get a mic on this man!!!) While his emotion floods onto the court during playoff intensity games, this will not be as bad a series as people think. Ray Allen is probable to return in game 1. What makes this series interesting though you ask? The undeniable mix-match in “big/small” lineups, according to WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery — meaning Smith at center, reserves Marvin Williams and Tracy McGrady at forward spots and 6-foot-8 All-Star Joe Johnson at shooting guard alongside point man Jeff Teague. The quicker, more malleable and offensively potent group could cause matchup problems for undersized Celtics off-guard Avery Bradley, who is six inches shorter than Johnson, and power forward Brandon Bass, who’s significantly less fleet of foot than Williams. If Atlanta can take advantage of those mismatches, it could mitigate the impact of a C’s lineup that’s been dominant for Doc, and much more productive offensively than Boston’s sixth-worst season-long offensive efficiency mark would indicate. With the experience, and IF they remain healthy, Celtics will surpass the dirty birds.