Friday, April 18, 2008

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

Well, the Eastern Conference is not nearly as exciting as the West because I think that the Celtics are clearly the best team, but there are still reasons to watch these games...

1) Boston Celtics vs. 8) Atlanta Hawks
First game: Sunday 7:30 p.m. CT(TNT)

From worst to first..., the Celtics needed to revive their franchise and did when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen over the off-season. Their three stars: KG, Allen, and Pierce have played very well together as all of them are in search of that elusive NBA title. Rajon Rondo has been a great surprise this year and shown flashes of brilliance while complimenting the trio. The Celts also have some veteran leadership with Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown not that they need it since they have KG, the best leader in the league. Meanwhile, the Hawks are back in the playoffs, breaking the longest active playoff drought of any team in the NBA . The Hawks have a lot of really good young talent in Horford, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith combined with Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby. Unfortunately, the Celts are very experienced and very very good. I see the Celtics sweeping the Hawks.

2) Detroit Pistons vs. 7) Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Sunday 5:00 p.m. CT (TNT)

When I look at this matchup, I ask myself "How are the 76ers even in the playoffs?". They have a decent team with Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala is sick, but after that they don't have much of anything. Meanwhile, the Pistons are always a threat to get to the NBA finals. They have a great core with Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, and Prince and their bench isn't too shabby either. This should be a boring series unless Rasheed Wallace gets into a fight with a Philly fan.
Detroit sweeps the 76ers.

3) Orlando Magic vs. 6) Toronto Raptors
First game: Sunday 11:30 a.m. CT (TNT)

I think this will be the most entertaining series in the East. You have two of the best young big men in the league going up against each other in Dwight Howard vs. Chris Bosh. Dwight Howard has a little more help with Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu, but the Raptors have T.J. Ford back along with Jose Calderon. I think this series will be determined by which teams star plays better, and I like Dwight Howard because although Bosh is a beast too, Bosh has been injured off and on this season, and I question whether he will be 100%. Not to mention everyone knows that Toronto is a hockey town. I have the Magic in 6.

4) Cleveland Cavs vs. 5) Washington Wizards
First game: Saturday 11:30 a.m. CT (ESPN)

Two words... Lebron James. You shouldn't need any more reason to watch than that, but this should also be a close, entertaining series. The Wizards finally have Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler back after Arenas was injured most of the season, and Butler was injured for about a month. Antawn Jamison has carried the team while Arenas and Butler have been out, but other players like DeShawn Stevenson and Antonio Daniels have also played well and gained experience and confidence. The Cavs made a pretty big trade to acquire Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West, but Wallace isn't the player he used to be and the other two are just role players. Big Zydrunas will be a handful for the Wizards because the Wizards don't have great size, but i think that the trio of Arenas, Jamison, and Butler will be better than basically Lebron by himself, and the Wizards will win in 6.

I'm off to Rites...

(Photo courtesy of GettyImages)

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