NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Picks: Is It Really Just the Bulls and Heat?

Brett StoneContributor IIApril 28, 2012

Can Anyone Beat Chicago or Miami?
Can Anyone Beat Chicago or Miami?Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the NBA Playoffs only a few days away, I thought now would be the best time to predict how I see each round going and who's going to the big dance.

Eastern Conference - First Round

Chicago vs. Philadelphia (1 vs. 8)
I congratulate the Sixers on their fantastic season; however, it's all about to come to an end. Sorry Phili fans, but the Bulls aren't going to be happy with anything less than a ring.
Bulls will win this series 4-1.

Miami vs. New York (2 vs. 7)
This series has all the ingredients to be something amazing or something incredibly predictable, and it's all up to the Knicks. They either pull together and show they're deeper than the Heat, or the LeBron train is going to run all over them.
If the Knicks turn up, Miami will win 4-3. If New York is a no show, Miami will win 4-1.

Indiana vs. Orlando (3 vs. 6)
With Dwight Howard watching this one from the sidelines, it's all but a certainty that Indiana moves on to the next round. Orlando fans are about to get a glimpse of what the next few years of playoff basketball looks like, and it's ugly.
Indiana will win this series 4-2.

Boston vs. Atlanta (4 vs. 5)
When Atlanta makes the playoffs there are three things you can bank on. Joe Johnson will disappear, Josh Smith will get angry and play one really great game and the Hawks will exit in the first round. Boston is making one last run before the "Big Three" is broken up, I expect them to dispose of the Hawks with relative ease.
Boston will win this series 4-2.

Eastern Conference - Second Round

Chicago vs. Boston (1 vs. 4)
With the Bulls as determined as ever to prove they are the best in the East, and Thibs determined to finally get past his mentor, I see Chicago taking this series in a tough battle. Chicago and Boston have had some classic games and still hold the record for the most number of overtime periods for a single playoff series.
Bulls win this in seven games 4-3.

Miami vs. Indiana (2 vs. 3)
This series will be much more interesting than most people think. Indiana is tough, physical and just dying to knock the wind out of Miami's sails. The Heat are going to prevail here. However, they're going to do it the hard way in seven long and tiring games.
Miami wins this series 4-3.

Eastern Conference Finals

Chicago vs. Miami (1 vs. 2)
Last year my heart told me the Bulls would beat the Heat, but my head knew better—so did the Heat. This year my heart tells me Chicago will win, but my head has come to the party, too. After this is all said and done with the Bulls holding the Larry O'Brien trophy, the experts will talk about how the Bulls overcame more than anyone to win it.

While Miami has its own trio of tormentors in Bosh, Wade and LeBron, sadly once again that is all they have. Dallas proved last year that a team will always beat individuals when it really counts, and the Bulls will show the Heat that in the Conference Finals.

Chicago will win this series 4-3 and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan led them there in 1998.