NBA Playoff Preview (Eastern Conference)

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Eastern Conference

The Chicago Bulls have been the most consistent team during the regular season, the Miami Heat have been the most talked about and the Boston Celtics have been the most changed. This makes for a most interesting playoff in the Eastern Conference. In the first round the Bulls should have no problem with the Indiana Pacers and barring a miracle the Heat should be able to handle the Philadelphia76ers with relative ease. But the Celtics may have their hands full with a revamped New York Knicks team. The Celtics haven’t yet rebounded from trading Kendrick Perkins, and they can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to generate some new chemistry with the new players they’ve traded for. With the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire the Knicks now have a superstar tandem that will keep them competitive with anyone in the league. Nonetheless, the Celtics experience will prevail, as the Knicks won have enough role players to overcome a veteran laden Celtic team.  The Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic are like an under card match in a boxing event, fun and exciting but nobody expects them to go far. I do expect the Magic to advance to the second round, but how far will they go from there is a mystery. If they make shots and Dwight Howard stays out of foul trouble, the sky is the limit. However, all season they haven’t looked like the team that went to the finals in 2009. The Magic won’t get past the Bulls in the second round due to speedy gonzales on hardwood aka Derrick Rose. Granted the Bulls have no consistent answer against Howard, they at last have some kind of answer. The Magic have absolutely no way to slow down or stop rose and that will be the difference. The Celtics and Heat will fight to death in the conference semis; LeBron will look to avenge his lost from last year while the Celtics will aim to do what we all wish for. That is, knock the Heat off the parade mobile they rode in on during their signing parade. Home court will belong to the Heat and that will be a small factor, the Celtics are not the same team from a year ago, they are missing something. It will be interesting to see if they have enough time to put it together. The Heat have two of the four best players on the same team, but they lack leadership, no one knows who the ‘go to guy’ is, who’s the one guy that when it all looks but over gets you back in the game. No matter how good they’ve looked at times that’s still an issue. And with no one willing to step on someone’s toes, always will be. Also their lack of a point guard and center will be the death of them. They have no one to run their offense. LeBron and Wade don’t listen to Bibby or Chalmers, and for whatever reason LeBron doesn’t want to play point guard. And though they trampled the new look Celtics the last Sunday of the season, I believe the Celtics will win. As always, all season, Chris bosh will be vital to their success and if he doesn’t average 10 rebounds they will lose. He must be the one to do the grunt work every night. And for that I’m picking the Celtics, even as disconnected as they looked. Until the Heat prove they are worthy, I’ll give Boston’s big four the benefit of the doubt. Celtics vs. Bulls will be great. Rose boozer and Noah vs. rondo and the big three. Let’s not forget Rose is guided by Tom Thibodeau the former Celtics defensive guru and for this advantage is why I’m picking the Bulls. The defense the Bulls play won’t allow the Celtics to get into a rhythm and exploit the chemistry issues the Celtics have. Rose will continue his MVP caliber play, while father time will finally catch up to the Celtics.

Breakdown
Round 1 (Winners of series are in bold)
(1) Bulls 4 games to 1  (8) Pacers
(4) Magic 4 games to 2  (5) Hawks
(3) Celtics 4 games to 2  (6) Knicks
(2) Heat 4 games to 1   (7) 76ers

Conference Semi-finals
(1) Bulls 4 games to 2  (4) Magic
(2) Heat   4 games to 3  (3) Celtics

Conference Finals
(1) Bulls 4 games to 3 (3) Celtics

Eastern conference champion Chicago Bulls

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