Though the Eastern Conference has done little to impress me over the past 5 years, the first round of the playoffs have been quite entertaining. The Wizards beating the Bulls surprised me a little bit, but that Washington roster is loaded compared to almost every team in the East. Though the Bulls play defense, when Mike Dunleavy has to lead your team in scoring to win a game, your team is going to struggle. The Raptors and the Nets series has been back and forth, and that series should be an important one (if there is one) to see if a team can compete with the Heat. Now the series that I really have been enjoying is the Hawks and the Pacers series. The Pacers are a joke, seriously. Not that I called this happening, but I knew that they couldn’t compete for the East. I just thought their demise would happen a series or two later than it is happening now. Either way, I bet the Pacers are glad they are paying top dollar for a 7 foot cheerleader. Oh yeah, I forgot, the Heat had a series against the Bobcats. I will give MJ and the Cat’s some credit, the signing of Al Jefferson has made them a decent team, and maybe they can add another piece to the puzzle.
My predictions for the rest of the playoffs in the East are as follows. With home court advantage for the rest of the series tied at 2-2, I’m going to say that Toronto beats Brooklyn in game 7 at home, setting up a matchup with the Heat. Though Brooklyn has the experience with Paul Peirce and Kevin Garnett, they won’t be able to run with the Raptors for the rest of the series. In the other series that is still going on, I have the Hawks finishing the Pacers when they take the court in Atlanta for game 6. The place will be rocking and I think that the Pacers are just lost on the court right now. This would set up a series between Atlanta and Washington.
In the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, I think that Toronto will be able to win a game at home, but ultimately the Heat win in 5. Lebron and company are just too strong to be contested by a team that is led by Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry, both good players, but not high caliber players that can keep up. In the Wizards and Hawks series, I believe the Wizards win in 6. Like I said earlier, I think that the loaded roster led with John Wall will be too much for the Hawks (even though they beat the Pacers’ good lineup). This sets up a pretty good matchup in the Championship between the Wizards and the Heat. This will be a gritty game, as Nene and Martin Gortat will be able to bully the Heat down low. Udonis Haslem will be one of the key players in this series and his ability to stop the Wizards big men. My prediction, Heat win in 6 games, but it will be a battle for them to do so.