NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
By Guest Blogger Tyler Daly:
#1- Chicago Bulls vs. #8- Indiana Pacers:
Season Series: Chicago leads 3-1
How many people had this Chicago Bulls team winning the East at the beginning of the year? Not I. However, an MVP-caliber season from Derrick Rose catapulted this team to the best record in the league and has local fans in a title-hungry frenzy. This first round matchup should present little or no trouble for Chicago. Rose may be able to beat this team single handedly, not to mention the inside scoring ability of Carlos Boozer. Joakim Noah will certainly have his hands full with Roy Hibbert (7’2”) and Luol Deng will have to play great defense on Granger, but in the end Chicago has too much firepower for the Pacers to handle
Series: Chicago in 5
#2- Miami Heat vs. #7- Philadelphia 76ers:
Season Series: Miami leads 3-0
Most people at this point in the year feel like they’ve already heard enough about the Miami Heat. From the drama of Lebron bumping coach Erik Spoelstra, to “cry-gate,” to the team’s inability to beat top teams…we’ve heard it all. But, if there was one time to pay attention to the star studded South Beach roster, it’s now. Miami dominates any team on paper, and the 76ers are no exception. Philly has great parody in their scoring, but with Andre Iguodala recovering from a knee injury entering the playoffs, the Heat will be way too much for them to handle. Look for the 76ers to steal one or two games from a Miami team that may already be looking towards the second round. In the end, Miami’s ability to get out in transition and put pressure on opposing defenders will lead them to victory.
Series: Miami in 6
#3- Orlando Magic vs. #6- Atlanta Hawks:
Season Series: Atlanta leads 3-1
This is a matchup plenty of people will select the Orlando Magic to win easily, strictly because of the kind of season Dwight Howard is having. The Magic certainly posses many of the necessary pieces to win a championship; good perimeter shooting, great inside presence, and a solid bench. But is this team different from the other Orlando rosters that couldn’t get it done? The answer is no. Atlanta has a great center in Al Horford to at least attempt to slow Howard down, and shooters like Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich to match up with Orlando’s snipers. The X factor in this series will be the performance of Josh Smith, who has typically become absent in previous playoff series for Atlanta. If the Hawks can get good play out of Smith, expect them to give Orlando all they can handle in the first round.
Series: Atlanta in 7
#4- Boston Celtics vs. #5- New York Knicks:
Season Series: Boston leads 4-0
Well here you have it folks, the Boston/New York rivalry is back in full swing in this year’s playoffs… or is it? Many are very excited about this matchup possibly rekindling the rivalry in this year’s playoffs, but let’s hold our horses for a second. Although the Knicks have two All-Stars in Anthony and Stoudemire, they traded away many of the pieces that would have helped them against the Celtics. Chauncey Billups gives the Knicks great offense, but will more than likely get burned on the other end by Rondo. Neither Landry Fields or Roger Mason will be able to guard Ray Allen and outside of ‘Melo there is no one left to guard Paul Pierce. Overall, I think the C’s have too much depth for the Knicks to compete with and that will prove to be the difference.
Series: Boston in 6