Eastern Conference First Round Preview And Predictions

The Eastern Conference has made people consider changing the playoff format. Three of the teams in the postseason have a record of .500 or worse. While this is a bad stat, there are still many talented teams in the East. Atlanta shocked the entire league by winning 60 games and securing the #1 seed. The Cleveland Cavaliers finally found their rhythm, and LeBron James is ready to bring a championship to his hometown. Derrick Rose has returned for the Chicago Bulls, as he is the key to a championship run. The first round will not be as exciting as the West, but it will certainly be fun to watch.


  • (1) Atlanta Hawks Vs. (8) Brooklyn Nets: Hawks in 6. Brooklyn made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, but they almost blew it. Nonetheless, the Nets have experienced players who show up at this time of the year. The trio of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez could help steal a few games from the Hawks. Eventually, the Hawks ball movement and unselfishness will be too much for the Nets to handle. A lot of people are not giving them a chance to make a deep postseason run even though they had a great regular season. The Hawks are a legitimate title contender, and they will make their presence felt early.


  • (2)¬†Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. (7) Boston Celtics: Cavaliers in 5. What a turn of events for the Boston Celtics. At one point in the year, it seemed the Celtics would be preparing for a top five pick in the draft. But with the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas, there is a now a solid young core. For the Cavaliers, their sights are set on a championship. With LeBron James back in his hometown, they will always be in win-now mode. For Kyrie Irving and Kevin love, this is their first time in the postseason. Their maturity and ability to produce will be key to whether this series ends in a sweep or not. The Celtics will always be an enemy to James, even if Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer there. I have to give one win to the Celtics. The atmosphere in TD Garden will energize them to get one win. Besides that, this series could be a cakewalk for the Cavaliers.


  • (3) Chicago Bulls Vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks: Bulls in 6. Props to the Bucks for making the playoffs after being the laughing stock of the NBA last season. Head coach Jason Kidd has been great for this young team. The emergences of Kris Middleton, rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Michael Carter Williams helped this team propel into the playoffs. The Bulls are looking for another deep postseason run. Derrick Rose is back, and the Bulls are a different team when he is playing at a high level. Jimmy Butler has been dealing with an injury, but the rising star is expected to be ready. The big-man duo of Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah has been outstanding all season. The Bucks will shock a few by their play, but the Bulls will get it done in six. Rookie Nikola Mirotic will be a big x-factor in this series for the Bulls.


  • (4) Toronto Raptors Vs. (5) Washington Wizards: Raptors in 7. This will by far be the most exciting first round series in the Eastern Conference. Both the Raptors and Wizards are up and coming teams, but have struggled greatly since the all star break. Between both teams, the Raptors have the upper hand. Lou Williams turned out to be a great pick up, as he is a strong favorite for sixth man of the year. But if Toronto wants to win this series, the play of Kyle Lowry is key. He has not played at an all-star level as of late, which could really hurt the Raptors chances. John Wall could really expose Lowry if he does not play at a high level. Nene and Marcin Gortat have now replicated their play from last season, which has drastically hurt the Wizards this season. In the end, the home-court for the Raptors will simply be too much to handle for the Wizards. The offseason for the Wizards could be very interesting.


The first round for the Eastern Conference is going to be great regardless of the teams that are in it. It will be fun watching the emergence of new and young stars.