2011 NBA Playoffs Predictions: Breaking Down the Eastern Conference First Round
It's that time of year again. The playoffs are here and it's time to determine who'll advance and who'll be a first round out.
Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers
The Chicago Bulls are playing their best basketball at the perfect time, ending the season on a nine-game winning streak. Indiana, on the other hand, has been 5-5 in its last 10 games, losing critical match-ups against New Orleans, New York, and Orlando.
Prediction: Bulls in four
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Besides, with two of the three best players of the NBA on their roster, Miami should have no problem cruising through the first round. However, expect Doug Collins—a possible candidate for Coach of the Year—to rile the troops one last time and put up a good fight.
Prediction: Heat in six
Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks
The Boston Celtics have been struggling as of late, going .500 in the last 10 games and falling to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks, however, have failed to develop the chemistry required since the Carmelo Anthony trade to make a deep run in the playoff.
Boston's seasoned veterans will be sure to lead their team to the second-round, but Amare, Carmelo and the clutch Billups will be a tough team to deal with.
Prediction: Boston in seven
Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks
Dwight Howard is finally emerging as the dominant force that many thought he would be and his MVP-worthy performance will help keep Orlando in the mix.
Joe Johnson and the Hawks have given Orlando trouble throughout the season, with the Magic losing three of the four season match-ups. It may be difficult but the size and three-point shooting of the Magic will help them move on to the second round.
Prediction: Orlando in seven