NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions


The NBA playoffs start today at 3:00 with Cavs-Bulls, which means its about time for me to make my annual playoff predictions. A couple years ago, I did pretty well. Last year, not so much.

So let's take a shot at this in 2010, and yes, I'm going to let my personal biases in.

FIRST ROUND
1 Cavaliers def. 8 Bulls, 4-0
Yes, the teams split their two meetings this year, but one of Chicago's wins was in the early part of the season, when the Cavs were feeling themselves out, and another was during the LeBron sit-a-thon. Chicago has taken a step back this season, and is not the same team that took the Celtics to 7 last year.

2 Magic def. 7 Bobcats, 4-1
Charlotte is good, and probably would have given the Cavs fits, but the Bobcats don't match up well with Orlando.

3 Hawks def. 6 Bucks, 4-1
This series would have been much more interesting if Andrew Bogut was healthy. But he's out for the season, which means Atlanta should cruise into the second round.

4 Celtics def. 5 Heat, 4-2
I just saw the Celtics play a couple weeks ago, and I came away less than impressed. However, I don't think the Heat can pull off the upset, mostly because they aren't really that good. Outside of Dwyane Wade, they don't have another player they can count on night in and night out.

SECOND ROUND
1 Cavaliers def. 4 Celtics, 4-2
I reserve the right to downwardly adjust the number of games the Celtics will win in this series based on how they play in the first round.

2 Magic def. 3 Hawks, 4-1
Orlando is playing really well right now, and took 3 of the 4 meetings with the Hawks this year. The one game Atlanta won was on a buzzer beater, while the three Orlando won were blowouts. That's not a formula for playoff success.

CONFERENCE FINALS
1 Cavaliers def. 2 Magic, 4-3
This is the series the Cavaliers have been waiting all season for, and this time the outcome will be different. I'm not even convinced it will go to 7, but I've been impressed by Orlando this year, and I think the Magic are better than people are giving them credit for.

So, that's the East. Coming later today: the West, then my NBA Finals prediction

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