ALL II’s Eastern Conference Round One Preview

Posted: April 28, 2012 in ALL II
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Don’t forget to check out my Western Conference (aka the Better Conference) preview.

Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia Seventy Sixers

The Sixers did their best to suck their way to the eighth seed.  Maybe they thought they match up better against the Bulls?  Doubt it.  Bulls bench is better, star player is better, and coach is better.  Bulls can use this as an adequate tune up for tougher defensive challenges and getting Rose and Deng healthy.  There really isn’t much else to say about this team.  Eastern conference basketball bringing the A-game.  Sixers had losses to the Raptors, Wizards, and Howard-less Magic.  I feel like a loser spending this many words on it.

Bulls in four

Miami Heat vs. New York Knickerbockers

Certainly the most talented series with the 2003 draft class reunited in full.  It’s hard to think that Wade is the only one of the three to have a NBA championship but such is fate given that he is riding that title to all the passes in the world for his poor close out defense, propensity to turn the ball over late, flop at the slightest increase in air-conditioning, and become replaceable in this grand experiment.  Miami is and will always be the team to beat despite their less than spectacular bench and poor three point shooting/defense.

New York has enjoyed(?) a Broadway drama from underachieving, revival with Jeremy Lin, sabotage in getting D’Antoni fired, and now a run to the seventh seed.  The three point buckets will be critical for the Knicks to stay close, something they can do.  More importantly for me is the play of Carmelo Anthony, arguably the second best player in the second half of the season behind, well, Lebron James.  Usually I don’t play arm chair psychologist but I genuinely believe Melo is out to prove a point and will play very good defense and amazing offense to remind people who felt he was NOT a superstar (some Bulls fans on this blog for instance) that he was in the same class and has performed at an astronomically high level throughout his career.  Superstars matter and the greater talent will prevail in the most exciting series in the first round.

Heat in five!

Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

Magic have the better coach but talent on the court matters more.  No stabbing you Dwight in the Back Howard (it’s a pun!) so this series is useless.  If the Pacers are serious they don’t waste any time and sweep.  I think they will sweep.  Who cares either way!?  This is exactly why the Eastern Conference sucks!  For the first time in a while the East gets all teams in over .500 but we get two garbage series because the conference is trash.  Will Howard be there supporting his team?  Will he root against Stan Van Gundy?  Only drama in this series is how fast will Stan Van Gundy be fired.

Pacers in four.

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

Bill Simmons has been pushing the big three as elite again to my disappointment but I cannot ignore the revitalization of Kevin Garnett and the stability of Paul Pierce.  Most notably the oft trade rumored Rajon Rondo is simply a BOSS.  Boston’s size – or lack thereof based on Garnett playing at the center position- means an injured Pachulia may still be effective in the paint.

Joe Johnson definitely has a favorable match up on Avery Bradley with height and will expose him.  Pierce will do the same on the other end.  In the end Rondo will be the X-factor; he struggled mightily in the season series but will absolutely shift the momentum to Boston.  These teams are remarkably close and this will be a good test for a team that does not score or rebound.  Underappreciated Josh Smith will have his hands full with KG at the center position too making for a competitive small line up leading to tight games.  Experience will prevail in this one as long as Rondo doesn’t shoot 23% all series.

Celtics in Six


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