Eastern Conference Playoffs Predictions

Posted: 04/21/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

With the season about to end and most of the playoffs spots secured, I’m going to give my first round predictions (assuming the current seedings hold):

Eastern Conference:
#1 Bulls vs. #8 Sixers

The starting lineups:
PG: Derrick Rose (CHI) and Jrue Holliday (PHI)… Advantage Chicago
SG: Richard Hamilton (CHI) and Jodie Meeks (PHI).. Advantage Chicago
SF: Luol Deng (CHI) and Andre Iguodala (PHI)… Even
PF: Carlos Boozer (CHI) and Elton Brand (PHI).. Advantage Chicago
C: Joakim Noah (CHI) and Nikola Vucevic (PHI)… Advantage Chicago
Bench: CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik (CHI) vs. Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes (PHI).. Advantage Philadelphia
Coaching: Advantage Chicago
Health Risks: D. Rose, R. Hamilton, L. Deng and S. Hawes.. Advantage Philadelphia
Momentum: Bulls 5-5 last 10, Philadelphia 3-7 last 10.

The Bulls should love this matchup, and they should dominate the Sixers, if they are healthy. Derrick Rose is the reigning MVP, but he’s had trouble being healthy this year. If they are totally healthy, they will win. If not, they’ll still probably win, but it might be close.

Series with Rose: Bulls in 5
Series without Rose: Bulls in 7

 #2 Heat vs. #7 Knicks

The starting lineups:

PG: Mario Chalmers (MIA) and Iman Shumpret (NYK).. Even
SG: Dwayne Wade (MIA) and JR Smith (NYK).. Advantage Miami
SF: LeBron James (MIA) and Carmelo Anthony (NYK).. Advantage Miami
PF: Chris Bosh (MIA) and Amare Stoudemire (NYK).. Even
C: Joel Anthony (MIA) and Tyson Chandler (NYK).. Advantage New York
Bench: Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Norris Cole (MIA) vs. Steve Novak, Mike Bibby, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Baron Davis (NYK)… Advantage New York
Coaching: Even
Health Risks: D. Wade, M. Miller  and A. Stoudemire.. Advantage New York
Momentum: Heat 7-3 last 10, Knicks 6-4 last 10.

I don’t think the Heat love this matchup. The Knicks are just finding their stride, even without Jeremy Lin. Now, they are getting Stoudemire back from injury and have a few games to get him to the top of his game. Suddenly, the Knicks will become a threat.

Series: Heat in 6

#3 Pacers vs. #6 Magic

PG: Darren Collison (IND) and Jameer Nelson (ORL).. Advantage Orlando
SG: Paul George (IND)  and JJ Redick (ORL).. Advantage Indiana
SF: Danny Granger (IND) and Jason Richardon (ORL).. Advantage Indiana
PF: David West (IND) and Ryan Anderson (ORL).. Advantage Orlando
C: Roy Hibbert (IND) and Glen Davis (ORL)… Advantage Indiana
Bench: George Hill, Leandro Barbosa, Tyler Hansbrough (IND) vs. Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardon, Von Wafer (ORL).. Advantage Indiana
Coaching: Advantage Indiana
Health Risks: D. Collison, D. West and J. Nelson, J. Richardson… Even
Momentum:  Indiana 9-1 last 10, Magic 4-6 last 10

The Pacers have to be feeling lucky right now. This was supposed to be a close matchup… but then Dwight Howard got injured. Without Howard, the Magic are a small team and a big defensive liability. They transform from a top 4 Eastern conference team to a team that wouldn’t put up a fight against any playoff team..

Series: Pacers in 5

#4 Celtics vs. #5 Hawks

PG: Rajon Rondo (BOS) Jeff Teague (ATL)… Advantage Boston
SG: Ray Allen (BOS) and Kirk Hinrich (ATL).. Advantage Boston
SF: Paul Pierce (BOS) and Joe Johnson (ATL).. Advantage Atlanta
PF: Brandon Bass (BOS) and Josh Smith (ATL).. Advantage Atlanta
C: Kevin Garnett (BOS) and Jason Collins (ATL).. Advantage Boston
Bench: Avery Bradley, Greg Stiemsma,  Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic (BOS) vs. Willie Green, Tracy McGrady, Marvin Williams, Ivan Johnson, Jannero Pargo (ATL) … Advantage Atlanta
Coaching: Advantage Boston
Health Risks: R. Allen, R. Rondo and T. McGrady.. Advantage Atlanta
Momentum:  Boston 7-3 last 10, Indiana 7-3 last 10

This should be a close matchup talent wise. The Hawks would have a clear advantage if they had Al Horford, but he was lost for the year early on. Now, they still match up pretty well with Boston, the Atlantic division champs. I think this series is going down to the wire, with the Celtics winning (their experience pushes them over the top).

Series: Celtics in 7

Western Conference will be tomorrow

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