As we head into the All-Star break, which will take place in the city of Los Angeles, all contending teams set their eyes on the prize and look ahead to the playoffs.
All the bubble teams look to first get in the playoffs. Teams like the Minnesota Timber Wolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, and Washington Wizards set their eyes on scouting and drafting future stars.
But before we know it, the playoffs will start.
So, if the playoffs started today, here is a look at the current East playoff matchups and predictions for each round.
#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Charlotte Bobcats
I don't think this is even a playoff matchup. The Bobcats are only the #8 seed because the bottom 9 of the East (Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and Wizards) are all terrible.
If they hadn't lost Raymond Felton in the offseason to the New York Knicks, the Bobcats would easily be a top six team.
The Celtics though, are arguably the best team in the NBA right now. They have future Hall of Famers at every position besides PG (but Rajon Rondo could be).
Prediction: This isn't even a playoff series. Celtics easily sweep.
#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers
When the Heat started off 9-8, everyone thought that they weren't for real.
But then they got it together.
Lebron and Wade are playing like MVP's right now. The only problem they have is the bench. Besides James Jones and Eddie House, the bench isn't good.
The 76ers have also struggled, but they have surprised people this season. Very few people picked them to even make the playoffs this year, while tons of people picked the Heat to win the title (I picked the Lakers to beat the Magic).
Prediction: The 76ers are a decent team. But I don't think they have enough experience to beat the Heat. Miami wins the series 4-1.
#3 Chicago Bulls vs. #6 New York Knicks
What a matchup this would be. If this rivalry comes back to life in the NBA, that would be huge for the entire league. These two teams have the front two runners for the MVP award with Derrick Rose and Amar'e Stoudemire.
The Knicks have been the biggest surprise in the NBA this year. After 10 years of mediocre play, New York basketball is back with Stoudemire leading the way.
The Bulls, since Michael Jordan left, hasn't really been a contending team.
This year though is different.
Derrick Rose is arguably the best point guard in the NBA (I still think its Chris Paul).
Prediction: This is the best matchup in the 1st round if it started today. The Bulls have been a great team this year, but I think the Knicks will upset the Bulls and win the series in 7 games.
#4 Orlando Magic vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks
We all know what happened in the playoffs last year. The Hawks were the biggest surprise in the NBA last season, and they were red hot coming in.
However, the Magic embarrassed them in the playoffs. The Magic are better than last season, and will prove it again by dominating the Hawks again.
Prediction: Magic sweep easily.
2nd round matchups:
#1 Celtics vs. #6 Knicks- Celtics win 4-3
#2 Heat vs. #4 Magic- Magic win 4-3
#1 Celtics vs. #4 Magic- Celtics win 4-3
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