Well, well, just a week ago the NBA Playoffs 1st Round had as much drama as an episode of favorite sports wives show: horrible and contrived. But as we approach the weekend and the 2nd round of the playoffs, things are looking up, especially in the Western Conference. The Nuggets have fought back to even the series with the Lakers at 3 games a piece, and the Grizzlies finally looked like they figured out how not to choke on big leads against the Clippers. But I am going to hold off until those series wrap up this weekend. But I will say this, when Javale McGee is outplaying Andrew Bynum consistently in the series, you know the Lakers have a problem. Also, Chris Paul has ended the “best point guard in the league” argument with his playoff performance, but will it be enough? The Grizzlies should be up 3-2 in the series instead of the other way around. But enough of all that, lets look back (cringe) and look ahead (double cringe) at the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
1 Chicago Bulls vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Prediction – Bulls in 5, Actual – 76ers in 6): I asked 76ers fans on twitter before the playoffs if the team was even going to make it after a series of terrible performances. A majority of fans replied back and said they would rather not make the playoffs than get swept in the first round. This series is easily a lesson in playing to win the games, no matter how bad you think you team performs.
Now I’m not saying that the 76ers can make noise in the next round. Heck, the Bulls almost (and probably should have) forced a Game 7 without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. But hey, if there is a favorable matchup in the next round, it’s playing the Celtics.
2 Miami Heat vs 7 New York Knicks (Prediction – Heat in 6, Actual – Heat in 5): A series that should have been way better than it turned out to be. Part of it was Knicks injuries. Most of it was flawed team construction on the Knicks part. But can Miami get some credit for having the best talent on the court at all times. Talent alone is going to get Miami to the Finals, unfortunately, but as we saw last year, talent is never enough. Let’s see if the Heat can get that killer instinct playing in the rest of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
3 Indiana Pacers vs 6 Orlando Magic (Prediction – Pacers in 6, Actual – Pacers in 5): I don’t think I watched one minute of this series. Roy Hibbert looked like he played well. That’s all I got.
4 Boston Celtics vs 5 Atlanta Hawks (Prediction – Celtics in 7, Actual – Celtics in 6): How long do we have to go on with this Hawks team? Can Josh Smith pull out a gun and get himself off the team? Can Joe Johnson go somewhere and be Robin to someone else’s Batman because that is the role where he is best? Why is Marvin Williams making so much money? The Hawks are just a better 2004-2008 Wizards team and I am tired of them taking playoff space.
So here is the next round. Hopefully we hurry to the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals that won’t be as good as it will be hyped.
2 Miami Heat vs 3 Indiana Pacers (Game 1, Sunday 3:30pm, ABC): We tweeted out earlier this week that Indiana has no chance vs Miami. I hope Indiana channels their inner Miguel Cotto: perform well enough to give a good, respectable show, even blood up your opponent making him look mortal, but in the end the outcome is never in doubt. I’m praying for that. I don’t think we will get it. Heat in 5
4 Boston Celtics vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1, Saturday 8pm, TNT): This was the prominent rivalry in the early days of the NBA up until the 1980s. On Boston’s side you have names like Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens, and Red Auerbach. The Sixers had Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Dr. J, Andrew Toney, and Maurice Cheeks. Yeah, those type of guys aren’t in this series, especially on the 76ers side. Celtics with their experience should take this in 6. But I am proud for Andre Iguodala getting Sixers fans off his back, at least for one night.
If this article wasn’t exciting for you, then you pretty much figured out the Eastern Conference Playoffs.