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The Road to June: The Eastern Conference First Round - Pinwheel Empire
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The Road to June: The Eastern Conference First Round

submitted 5 years ago by in NBA

This is the first in our preview series for this year’s playoffs.  Today we talk about the first round out east and tomorrow we’ll switch to the West.

#1 Miami vs. #8 Milwaukee

Series Headline: Miami Looks for Easy Start to Title Defense

Series Begins: Sunday

Season Series: Miami won 3-1

Miami Last Season: NBA Champions

Miami’s Biggest Edge: Do you really have to ask?  Miami has the best player in the game in LeBron James and with Wade and Bosh both healthy, the only question is whether even two of their big three need to be on form for the Heat to prevail.

Milwaukee Last Season: Missed Playoffs

Milwaukee’s Biggest Edge: Jennings and Ellis can make a lot of 3s in a row when they get hot and Larry Sanders is a great shot blocker.

Miami wins if: They play their game even reasonably well.

Milwaukee wins if: A meteor strikes the Miami Heat’s practice facility, vaporizing the entire big 3 and leaving the rest of the roster intact.

Upset Chance: 0.00000000000000000000000000001%

The Pick: Miami in 4, without a doubt.

 

#4 Brooklyn vs. #5 Chicago

Series Headline: Brooklyn and Chicago Look to Fight for the Right to Face Miami

Series Begins: Saturday

Season Series: Chicago won 3-1

Brooklyn Last Season: Missed Playoffs

Brooklyn’s Biggest Edge: Brook Lopez is a strong interior player and the backcourt duo of Johnson and Deron Williams can provide a much needed scoring punch. 

Chicago Last Season: Lost in the First Round

Chicago’s Biggest Edge: They are really freaking good at defense, and almost every player on their roster plays it well.

Brooklyn wins if: They score at or close to 100 points a game.

Chicago wins if: Joakim Noah plays his best ball and they score enough on offense to allow their strong defense to win them games.

Upset Chance: 55%

The Pick: Bulls in 6, Brooklyn just doesn’t feel like a team I trust.

 

 #3 Indiana vs. #6 Atlanta

Series Headline: Pacers and Hawks Slug it Out in a Battle of Two of the NBA’s Uglier Teams

Series Begins: Sunday

Season Series: Tied 2-2

Indiana Last Season: Lost in the Second Round

Indiana’s Biggest Edge: The Pacers do a great job moving the ball to open shooters on offense and on defense, Hibert does a good job protecting the rim.

Atlanta Last Season: Lost in the First Round

Atlanta’s Biggest Edge: When he chooses to attack the rim rather than settle for outside jumpers, Josh Smith can be an absolute beast on offense, and when he’s dialed on offense he often is on defense as well.

Indiana wins if: They get a decent contribution from their bench and start games reasonably well (Indiana has been down 20 points or more in six straight games).

Atlanta wins if: Josh Smith plays like the best player on the court, which he is, and Kyle Korver makes 3s at a good clip.

Upset Chance: 60%

The Pick: Hawks in 6, the Pacers have looked awful as of late but this series will be close, but I’m betting Atlanta prevails.

 

#2 New York vs. #7 Boston

Series Headline: New York and Boston Resume Old Rivalry as Knicks Look to Break Playoff Series Drought

Series Begins: Saturday

Season Series: New York won 3-1

New York Last Season: Lost in the First Round

New York’s Biggest Edge: When Carmelo Anthony is dialed in, there is no one that can stop him and he often leads a parade of talented three point shooters for New York, including sixth man of the year contender JR Smith. 

Boston Last Season: Lost in the Eastern Conference Final

Boston’s Biggest Edge: Pierce and Garnett just seem to know how to grind out wins despite the odds, veteran presence might be overrated in many cases but its not for these two.

New York wins if: They make 3s at their normal clip.

Boston wins if: They slow down New York and use their defense to win them games.

Upset Chance: 49%

The Pick: Knicks in 7, this isn’t your usual 2-7 matchup and this should be a great series but give the slightest of edges to New York.

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skywaker9 (David) is a Portland native and passionate Blazers fan. He currently works as a University fiscal analyst for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. He also has a PhD in Public Affairs and Policy at Portland State University. David is a former political activist who chose to focus on sports because they made him happy. He primarily writes previews for PWE and one of his primary goals is to inform Blazer fans everywhere about those players on other teams they may not have heard of but should (such as Nikola Vucevic).