On The Court: The Eastern Conference Playoffs

I know I’ve said this before, but it really does need to be said again – the Eastern Conference has been a lot of fun to watch this season. And again, we all knew it would be without…well, you know. This is why I’m really excited about the playoffs this year…I can’t wait to see how things turn out. Who will reign supreme in the east?!

So…how will things turn out? Who will reign supreme? If Knew that, I’d be writing this under the byline “Winner of the Really Big Powerball Jackpot.” Unfortunately I’m writing this under my real name so I can’t say for sure. But…I have some thoughts…yes, I have some thoughts, at least on the first round:

  • Bucks vs. Pistons: Let’s see, so despite a decent start to the season, the Pistons barely made it into the playoffs (and most likely gave up an opportunity to grab Zion Williamson in the draft as a result). Blake Griffin has been warming the bench nursing his knee injury. They played against the Bucks four times in the regular season and lost all four games. So what am I saying? I’m saying that this series will end fast with the Bucks surviving. Without Griffin, the Pistons won’t be able to defend against the Greek Freak. Sure, they have Andre Drummond, who really is the reason the team made it into the playoffs in the first place, but can Drummond play as well as he has been against the Bucks? That will be tough. To be fair, Drummond won’t make defending him easy on the Bucks, and I think they will struggle a bit. But the Pistons can’t just lean on Drummond and expect to win the series.
  • Celtics vs. Pacers: The Celtics. The most inconsistent team in the east is about to enter the playoffs without Marcus Smart. Actually, they’ll play the entire first round without Smart, if not more. This. This should be a huge concern for Celtics’ fans. I first talked about my apprehension regarding this team a week or so ago and since then, with Marcus Smart’s injury, it has only grown worse. However, I do feel that the Celtics will make it out of the first round alive, mostly because of Jaylen Brown and Hayward—if Hayward continues to play like he has been these last few weeks, that is. Round two? Well, assuming they’ll face the Bucks, that’s a different story. The Pacers, on the other hand, I see
  • 76ers vs. Nets: Ok, so the Nets are banking on D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie being the super duo that they’ve been for the team as of late. The Sixers? I would assume that the Sixers are also banking on the Nets banking on their super duo. I would also assume that the Sixers are banking on Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons keeping Russell and Dinwiddie from scoring too fast and too furious. What I’m saying is, this one feels like a toss up. Neither team seems better than the other. A month ago, I would have called it for the Sixers, but they’ve been flat lately. Can they snap out of it to get past the Nets? Can the Nets keep pushing? Getting to the playoffs was tough enough…
  • Raptors vs. Magic: The Magic are entering the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They’re a…good team. Energetic. But they’re playing the Raptors. The Raptors who are superb on both sides of the ball. Does the fact that the Raptors just lost OG Anunoby for an undetermined amount of time due to an emergency appendectomy help the Magic out? Maybe, but really what they need to do is focus. If you caught any of their games lately, it was easy to see them get ahead of themselves mentally and let leads and good momentum go. The loss of one player on a dominant team such as the Raptors is not going to cut it. I mean, they still have to deal with Kawhi Leonard…

Image Source: AP Images

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