Catrell Simpson: April 14th, 2017
We now know the matchups and seeds of everyone in the Eastern Conference. Unlike the West, these matchups in the East can go either way. With that being said, here are the 4 matchups in the East.
#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Chicago Bulls
Boston stole the #1 seed away from Cleveland. They have been playing great team ball lately, led by all-star Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the East. The Bulls have had an up and down season stemming from conflict in the locker room to D Wade’s injury. They still made it in the playoffs regardless of all of that. They have a strong starting lineup that may give the Celtics some matchup problems, but I just don’t see them having enough to win this series.
Celtics in 6.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #7 Indiana Pacers
Cleveland has looked like a shell of themselves recently. Since the all-star break, they have a losing record. There are still some positives to take away though. They are all finally healthy. They improved their bench during the middle of the season, and we can’t they are the defending champs. The Pacers were in danger of not making the playoffs at all but now that they are in, they are not a team that should just be looked over. Paul George has been shooting the lights out recently. He has proven to always step up to the plate when he is facing LeBron. He hasn’t beaten him in a series yet, but he always gives him all he can handle. I see that being the narrative of this matchup yet again.
Cavs in 6.
#3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks
The Raptors this year were a little bit worst than last year. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker during the middle of the season. Kyle Lowry missed a nice portion of the season with a broken wrist, but he’s back and ready to help lead the Raptors to the promise land. For the Bucks, there is really just one name to talk about: Giannis Antetokounmpo. He was able to do everything for this team. He finished top-20 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and he led his team in all 5 of those categories too. Giannis will do all he can to keep the Bucks in this series, but they are still a few pieces short to be considered a real contender.
Raptors in 5.
#4 Washington Wizards vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks
The Wizards are a serious threat in the East. John Wall and Bradley Beal are both having one of their best seasons as a pro. The Wizards also have a solid set of role players to go along with these two stars. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought there was no way that the Hawks would still be a top-5 seed this season. They lost all-star big man Al Horford and sharpshooter Kyle Korver. There also had been some speculation that they were trying to ship Paul Millsap out of town too. I’ll give them credit for still finding a way to handle business despite all of this adversity, but I think their season will be over after this season.
Wizards in 5.