It’s that time of year and that’s the NBA playoffs. This has been a wonderful year and in the Eastern Conference, we’re going to crown a new champ. For the last 8 years, Lebron James have ruled but he’s in Los Angeles now. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of mine and everyone else’s MVP list as it seems it’ll come down between him and James Harden. Giannis have led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the league and the path to the NBA Finals goes through them. The Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics round out the top 4 in the Eastern Conference. With the playoffs starting Saturday, let’s see who’ll advance to the second round.
The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Detroit Pistons in the opening round series. Milwaukee is lead by Giannis, but they have a complete team around him. The Bucks are hoping to get Malcolm Brogden real soon, but still missing a couple key pieces. Nikola Mirotic and Tony Snell have been ruled out for Game 1. With the mounting injuries, can the Bucks win game 1 and get by the Pistons in the first round? Detroit barely made it into the playoffs, but they have a good team. With Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, they can compete in the 7-game series. With the mounting injuries to the Bucks, can the Pistons take advantage and possibly upset Milwaukee? The Pistons could win one, maybe two games, but they’re not beating the Bucks in this series.
Milwaukee Win Series 4-2
This is the 4 vs. 5 series as the Boston Celtics host the Indiana Pacers. Coming into this season, Boston was looked as the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. Throughout the season, there have been issue after issue. If that wasn’t enough, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart left the last game early due to injury. Will the Celtics put it all together and get by this pesky Pacers team? Indiana would’ve finished in a higher spot if Victor Oladipo didn’t go down to injury. Despite losing Oladipo, Indiana still played great basketball as everyone chipped in. Indiana will play the Celtics tough every game, but will they have enough to pull off the upset? I’m one of the people that still have faith in this Celtics team and think they will win this series in five games.
Boston Win Series 4-1
This is the 2 vs. 7 matchup as the Toronto Raptors will take on the Orlando Magic. The Raptors begin their playoff run without OG Anunoby who had an emergency appendectomy. When the Raptors traded DeMar Derozan for Kawhi Leonard, they done it with the hopes of making it to the next level. Kyle Lowry have become more of a true point guard this season as he’s averaged a career high in assists. Kawhi will be himself in this season and he should be well rested. Orlando have been a surprise and they have a good young core of players. Nicola Vucevic is one of the more underrated players in the league and I absolutely love his game. Terrance Ross can catch fire off the bench and Aaron Gordon will be key in this series. This will be a learning experience for the Magic as it’ll help them grow as a team. In the end, Toronto will win this series in five or six games.
Toronto Wins Series 4-2
In the final series, it’s the 3 vs. 6 matchup as the Philadelphia 76ers battle the Brooklyn Nets. The biggest concern for the Sixers is the health of Joel Embiid. Embiid have been battling knee issues and could miss Game 1 as he’s missed five of the last seven game. With the Sixers trading for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, they’re built for a run this year. Philadelphia have arguably the best starting five in the league. Brooklyn have been one of the more exciting teams this season. They made a huge turnaround and D’Angelo Russell became an all-star. I’ve watched quite a few of Nets game and this team can score at will. Jarrett Allen controls the middle as he’s becoming one of the better defenders in the league. Can they upset the loaded 76ers? I’m thinking the 76ers win this series in six games.
Philadelphia Wins Series 4-2
Eastern Conference 2nd Round Matchups
-Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
-Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
What do you think about my Eastern Conference first round playoff prediction? Who do you have advancing to the second round? What do you think about the 2nd round matchups? Leave some feedback below.