Eastern Conference Playoff Preview | Sharapova's Thigh

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

Posted by Poorly Acquitted | 4/18/2009 06:50:00 AM | ,

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

What a difference a year (or two) makes. The Pistons went from Eastern Conference superiority to Eastern Conference insignificance. It's safe to say at this point that the Billups / AI trade didn't work out for Detroit. LeBron powered the Cavs to the leagues best record and a 39-2 record at home. Unreal. LeBron is amazing. I'm still not sold on that supporting cast, but the home court dominance will easily carry them through the first two rounds in the Eastern Conference.

Season Series: Cleveland wins 3-1

Key to the Series:
The Ghost of Allen Iverson.
The only way Detroit wins this series is if the Ghost of Allen Iverson descends upon the midwest and carries the Pistons like AI carried the 76ers to the NBA Finals (easily the worst team to ever make the Finals). What?....? Huh...?? The real AI isn't playing in the series? Aw shit, the Pistons have no chance.

Prediction: Cleveland in 5

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

Really really interesting series here. The Hawks have flown under the radar seemingly all year due to the dominance of Cleveland, Boston and Orlando. Make no mistake though, this team is good, young, fun to watch and plays with a lot of energy. Joe Johnson is a sniper. Josh Smith is a high flyer. I don't know how Al Horford has translated into a solid NBA player, but he has. On the other side of the ball is a guy named D Wade. Heard of him? After an awful season in South Beach, Wade, rookie Michael Beasley and a nice supporting cast have made the Heat relevant again. Wade is one of the best players in the league and he'll need to summon all of that greatness to lead the Heat past the Hawks.

Season Series: Atlanta wins 3-1

Key to the Series:
The free throw line.
I will never get over what D Wade did in the 2006 NBA Finals against Dallas. He attempted 97 free throws in that 6 game series. He averaged over 16 free throw attempts a game. He attacks the rim, I get it, but if Wade is getting the whistles as he did on 2006 Finals the Heat are tough to beat.

Prediction: Atlanta in 7. This is tough. I normally give the advantage to the home team, but betting against D Wade in the playoffs is flat stupid. In the end though, Wade can't guard every player on the floor and Atlanta can throw enough athletic defenders at Wade to slow him down.

(2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Chicago Bulls

This is an interesting series. My gut tells me that KG won't matter for this series. More has been made of the KG absence. I wouldn't put it past Boston to pull some sort of rope-a-dope, but KG isn't playing in this series. My gut tells me that Boston is too rugged for the Bulls. Chicago is reborn since their series of trades at the trading deadline. Everybody knew that Derrick Rose would invigorate the Bulls. I didn't think he'd be this good this quick. John Salmons has also remade his career and the Bulls season since coming over from Sacto.

Season Series: Boston wins 2-1

Key to the Series:
Rajon Rando.
Rajon Rondo is the best defensive point guard in the league. At times this year he's also been an explosive offensive player. I really feel that he only needs to orchestrate in this series, I don't think he needs to score. He needs to live up to his defensive reputation in order to slow down Derrick Rose. If he interrupts Rose's game throughout the series Boston advances.

Prediction: Boston in 6. Boston is too good for the Bulls.

(3) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Philadelphia 76ers

Orlando is a little banged up. Philly is really sexy right now. Can the Magic return to that mid-season form that lead to two spankings of the Cavs? I'm going to call Dwight Howard the most dominant player in the league right now. I know, there is LBJ, there is Kobe, there is DWade. I'm going to say Howard just because he does it from inside the paint, he does it blocking shots and he does it on the glass. Yes Philly won in the Cleve on the last night of the season, but it went into OT and not a single Cleveland starter played.

Season Series: Magic won 3-0

Key to the Series: Andre Miller
If Philly has any chance in this series it will be because Andre Miller makes it so. Miller is the most battle tested 76er. He can drive this team with his passing, wisdom and, on occasion, his scoring. I'm not saying that Philly wins if he plays well, but they need him to play well to have a chance.

Prediction: Orlando in 6.

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