The National Basketball Association has ended its regular season, and the
fourteen month playoffs start tonight, April 17. EJSIC is previewing each of the first round series beginning with the Eastern Conference.
1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs 8 Chicago Bulls – The Bulls squeaked into the playoffs with wins in their last two games. LeBron James is the front-runner MVP candidate, and the Cavs should win this series even without much from James. Cavs in 4.
2 Orlando Magic vs 7 Charlotte Bobcats – Superman Dwight Howard leads the reigning Eastern Conference champion Magic back to the playoffs against Larry Brown’s Bobcats. The Magic have Vince Carter this season to provide a bonafide scoring guard which should make them even more dangerous in a 7 game series. Magic in 5.
3 Atlanta Hawks vs 6 Milwaukee Bucks – The Hawks are a fun team to watch. Joe Johnson is a solid scorer while Josh Smith, Mike Bibby, et al provide complimentary highlights. Milwaukee is back in the playoffs with rookie sensation Brandon Jennings leading the charge. In the end, the Hawks have too much. Atlanta in 6.
4 Boston Celtics vs 5 Miami Heat – The 2010 playoffs may be Miami’s best chance to keep superstar Dwyane Wade. If they show some promise, it may convince him to resign. However, they have to face a very veteran group in the Boston Celtic with Rajon Rondo quickly becoming one of the best point guards in the Association. I’m taking the Celts in 5.
1 Los Angeles Lakers vs 8 Oklahoma City Thunder – As fun as the Hawks are to watch, the Thunder is even funner. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and James Harden all provide a young, talented backbone. The defending champion Lakers enter the playoffs stumbling a bit with injuries and sporadic play. Coach Phil Jackson created media attention by criticizing officials treatment of Kevin Durant. Lakers in 7.
2 Dallas Mavericks vs 7 San Antonio Spurs – One can never count out the Spurs because of their coaching and veteran leadership, but Dallas has been one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break. Richard Jefferson has not provided the spark many thought he would for San Antonio. Mavs in 5.
3 Phoenix Suns vs 6 Portland Trail Blazers – The Suns revitalized themselves late in the season by streaking up the standings to secure the third place spot. However, they have underachieved in the playoffs during the past few seasons. Portland continues the misery in 7 games.
4 Denver Nuggets vs 5 Utah Jazz – Denver struggled in the late season with the absence of coach George Karl who was diagnose with cancer in February. He is not expected back on the bench for the first round series which should concern Nugget fans. Utah wins in 7.