The Eastern Conference this year has one legit title contender with the rest of the conference wide open. The Miami Heat are the clear-cut favorite and anything else but a No. 1 seed would be a disappointment. With the Bulls taking a step back without Derrick Rose for a while, the conference top seeds are for the taking. The Atlantic Division is stacked this year but which team will grab that top three seed? The east should be very fun to watch this year. Here are my playoff predictions.
- Miami Heat
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Indiana Pacers
- New York Knicks
- Boston Celtics
- Chicago Bulls
- Brooklyn Nets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
1. Miami Heat vs. 8. Cleveland Cavaliers
I’m not sure this will happen as the Cavs have a lot to do to become a playoff team but this will be one of most hyped up first round matchups in recent history. LeBron going back to Cleveland for a playoff matchup would be a great storyline. Kyrie Irving has the talent to lead his team to the playoffs but will it be enough to pull the historic upset over the former King of Cleveland? Would be amazing to see but I can’t see it happening.
Heat over Cavaliers 4-1
2. Philadelphia 76es vs. 7. Brooklyn Nets
This Atlantic Division matchup would create a new rivalry in the NBA. Most New York fans hate Philadelphia with the Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers in town and this would just add more fuel to the fire. I see Philadelphia having a huge year but the Nets have Deron Williams. This would be a great series but I see the Nets pulling the upset in 7.
Nets over 76ers 4-3
3. Indiana Pacers vs. 6. Chicago Bulls
We have another divisional matchup in the first round with Central foes in the Pacers and Bulls. At this point in the season the Bulls will have Derrick Rose back hopefully at full health and no opponent wants to deal with that. I love the Pacers this year but if Derrick Rose is playing all out, I have to give it to the Bulls in a great seven-game series.
Bulls over Pacers 4-3
4. New York Knicks vs. 5. Boston Celtics
Our last divisional first round matchup gives us Boston against New York, a rematch from two years ago. It would be pretty interesting with two New York teams going up against Boston and Philadelphia. The Celtics should never be counted out in the playoffs but I think Carmelo Anthony will be on a mission to prove he is the man in New York. To be the man in New York you have to win in the playoffs, and Melo will do that for the first time in the Big Apple since Clinton was in office.
Knicks over Celtics 4-2
Eastern Conference Semis
1. Miami Heat vs. 4. New York Knicks
The Knicks get a shot of revenge and history when they square up against LeBron and the Heat in the second round. The stakes will be higher compared to last year, as Carmelo and the Knicks would be playing with confidence. My heart really wants to pick the Knicks here but the Heat are too good. I hope I’m wrong but it’s hard to predict the Heat losing four games to the Knicks in the playoffs.
Heat over Knicks 4-2
6. Chicago Bulls vs. 7. Brooklyn Nets
If you love elite point guards, this is the perfect playoff matchup for you. Derrick Rose against Deron Williams is a fantastic matchup with both players being two of the league’s best. I think the Bulls have all the momentum and talent on their side here. The Bulls have been here before and know how a close playoff series feels like. No one on the Nets roster has really felt the pressure of a big playoff stage and I think Rose and the Bulls take care of the Nets.
Bulls over Nets 4-1
Eastern Conference Finals
1. Miami Heat vs. 6. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls get their shot to finally make it back to the Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan when they once again go up against LeBron and the Heat. The Bulls getting over the hump with all that Rose has been through would be a Hollywood type story. I would love to see it happen but once again picking against the Heat is hard to do. This series goes seven but the Heat are the better team.
Heat over Bulls 4-3
2013 Eastern Conference Champions – Miami Heat