Monday, April 21, 2008

Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics (1)

Atlanta Hawks (8)

The Celtics will maul through the Hawks easily. Their stars will outshine the Hawks' stars. Boston is too hungry for the win, while Atlanta is too young and too inexperienced (excluding Bibby). Garnett will keep the team focused and I don't expect there to be any let-downs in this series. I expect double digit wins in every game for Boston. And they could very easily sweep the Hawks. Their defense is that good. It will be interesting to see how the young guns from Atlanta fare. This is their first experience of playoff basketball. On paper, there are a lot of good matchups. Johnson vs. Allen. Smith vs. Pierce, in particular. But the Boston team has all the intangibles to win. I think Rondo will have a nice series. And their other role players will show the league they are for real. Watch out for them! --- Boston in 5

Detriot Pistons (2)

Philadelphia 76ers (7)

Differing from Boston, Detriot has the tendency to coast in games and play down to their competition. I think that will cost them a couple of games in this series. Philadelphia is a tough team that plays with alot of heart and hustle. And they will take advantage of Detriot's apathy. But Detriot is the deeper and more talented team. Their bench has been rock solid this year, and their starters are the same wiley and experienced pros from previous years. The team goes where Rasheed Wallace will take them. When he is motivated, he's one of the best in the league. It'll be fun to watch young guys like AI, Young and Williams from Philadelphia getting a taste of playoff basketball. --- Detriot in 6

Orlando Magic (3)

Toronto Raptors (6)

This series has a lot of intrigue because there are many mismatches in the starting lineups. Toronto doesn't have anyone on their team that can guard Dwight Howard. Likewise, Orlando does not have anyone that can matchup with Bosh. Toronto should have a huge advantage at the PG spot. Both Ford and Calderson are better than Nelson. Both teams have a lot of 3pt shooters so that could play a huge factor. I expect all of the games to be high scoring and very competitive. Toronto will need to use its depth to stand a chance. I don't have much faith in Bargnani or Nesterovic for Toronto. Will Howard's poor FT shooting cost Orlando any games? In general, Orlando is a better team and is better coached. Hedo Turkoglu will show everyone why he's the Most Improved Player. --- Orlando in 6

Cleveland Cavaliers (4)

Washington Wizards (5)

I had a tough time deciding a winner in this series. Cleveland has the best player in the series: Lebron; but I'm not too impressed with the rest of their team. I don't think the midseason trade really helped their team much. Only Ziggy has proven to be a reliable scorer for this team. Meanwhile, Washington has it's own version of the big 3 with Arenas, Jamison and Butler. I also like their depth; they have a lot of different scorers. The early injuries has allowed their bench players to elevate their game. Health will be the deciding factor of this series, though. Assuming Arenas and the rest of the Washington team can play at a high level, I like their chances. What their game plan should be is focusing on stopping the rest of the Cleveland team. Lebron can't beat them by himself. Or can he? --- Washington in 7

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