The first few days of the NBA playoffs have been incredibly interesting. After only three full days of playoff basketball I can safely say that the 2018 playoffs are going to be better than the 2017 playoffs. The Western Conference has seemed like they’ll be interesting, but still more than likely come down to the Rockets or Warriors. The East though, they’re a shit show. The 1 seeded Raptors finally won a game 1, but just barely against the 8th seeded Wizards winning by a slim 8 points. The 2 seeded Celtics squad riddled with injuries managed to defeat Giannis and the 7th seeded Bucks in overtime 113-107 off of tremendous play from just everybody. Possibly the biggest surprise was Lebron getting his breaks blown off at home versus the 5th seeded Pacers 98-80. The only Eastern Conference teams to already play two games upon the time I’m writing this is the 3rd seeded 76ers and the 6th seeded Heat. After game 1 where the 76ers won easily 130-103, game 2 shockingly went to Miami on the road 113-103.
After game 1, I was ready to grant the 76ers as Eastern Conference Champions
I’m not even joking by saying that. No other team impressed me in a way where I could see them defeating the 76ers. Without Embiid, they made Miami look like fools in that first game. Game 2 showed us vintage Dwyane Wade coming into Philly and dropping 28 points. Kelly Olynyk has played way above his expectations thus far giving Miami even more of a chance. The big Miami concern is Hassan Whiteside averaging 3ppg and 5.5rpg through the first two games. Joel Embiid is gonna come back soon and not make it any easier for him to bring those horrendous numbers up to somewhat respectable. Joel Embiid is who will give this Sixers team a chance at all.
The Celtics are still the Weirdest Team to Judge in these Playoffs
Boston technically isn’t underdogs according to Vegas, but every single sports news outlet gives them close to no shot of winning the first round against the Bucks. Yet, Game 1 showed reminded us all that Brad Stevens is still the best coach in the East. Once again, all the young guns stepped up and Terry Rozier has nuts of steel with that last second (almost) game-winning three. The Celtics winning in overtime showed us all that the Bucks probably don’t have much of a chance to make it through the entire Eastern Conference.
The Cavs are bit of a Joke
Prior to this postseason, I had the Cavs going to the NBA Finals without much difficulty. The Pacers made Lebron their bitch. And yea, it’s only one game, but outside of Lebron everybody looked lifeless. The young guys who haven’t been here before proved that they aren’t going to suddenly have what it takes for multiple entire series’. This Pacers team is no joke either. They’re a 5 seed and people are sleeping on them more than any seed lower than them. Victor Oladipo is going to will his guys through these insane playoffs as far as his ability will allow him. Their fearlessness is a scary sight for other teams. The Cavaliers might be smelling a round 1 goodbye to the NBA playoffs. With that round 1 goodbye is also a final goodbye to their savior Lebron James.
Are the Raptors Who We Thought They Were?
In their victory over the Wizards, Kyle Lowry had 11 points while Demar Derozan had just 17. Both those guys are seeming to live up to their playoff hype and are stinking up the joint. They did do significantly better in the second half of that game and had enough guts to get their long-awaited game 1 victory that’s taken them 10 series to accomplish. The Wizards have close to no hope even if they find a way to upset the Raptors. They’d either have to face a steaming Cavs team or a pumped up Pacers team who will have been rolling after upsetting Lebron.
So, With All this Chaos, Who Wins the East?
Well, I’m at a loss with how unpredictable the playoffs have been so far. Honestly, any team could sneak their way through with no team showing a sure edge on the rest of the conference. My prediction is gonna be kind of boring sadly. I’m picking the 1 seeded Raptors to make their way to the NBA Finals. The Cavs don’t care, the Celtics are too hurt, and the 76ers don’t seem like they have it just yet. This Raptors team is deep and already proved that they can win with neither of their two best players carrying the offensive load. With that said, the Rockets or Warriors will blow anyone from the East’s doors off.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)