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NBA Playoff Predictions - The East

Finally all the crying is done (except for Bobcat fans who need to start wearing bags) because the short season is finally over. You know what that means? Its playoff time baby!

...and what makes the playoffs fun? Gambling on the playoffs!

I still fondly remember when Golden State knocked off Dallas in the first round a few years back and I turned a long shot gamble into a cool $1000. Not that gambling is always a good decision. But if you are a responsible adult without a compulsive addiction then you should feel free to keep reading!

Now it is time to breakdown the playoff brackets and we start with the Eastern Conference.

1st Round

1. Bulls versus 8. 76ers - Okay the 76ers are pretty much screwed. They have been flailing away for the second half of the season and don't have much other than a good defense. On the other side of the ball the Bulls have a great defense and some really good players plus the MVP from last year. This one is either going as a sweep or the 76ers win a single home game on a last ditch shot.

4. Celtics versus 5. Hawks - This is a bit messed up as the Hawks actually have the better record but Boston won their division. Sadly that home court advantage is exactly what the Celtics need to prevail. The Hawks are a really good team but Boston has experience and Rondo who is playing out of his mind. Celtics in 6 or 7.

3. Pacers versus 6. Orlando - This matchup was more interesting before Dwight Howard went down with an injury. But it is a good tune-up for the Pacers. As Orlando has a playoff experienced roster they should win at least one game and might squeak out a second (highly unlikely) before the Pacers get rid of their jitters.

2. Heat versus 7. Knicks - This is a dream match-up from the perspective of the NBA with 2 big franchises and lots of stars facing off. The Knicks could actually make this a series if they get hot from the outside. The only problem is it won't last more than a game or two. I'll give New York 2 wins based on Melo trying to prove his worth (here is a tip - try rebounding) and going for 40 at least twice. But Miami chugs on.

2nd Round

1. Bulls versus 4. Celtics - This match-up completely hinges on Rose being healthy. If he is at 75% or more then the Bulls win in 6. If he isn't then it is a toss-up in 7. Both teams can play brutal defense and these are not games I am going to watch because I hate final scores of 73-67.

2. Heat versus 3. Pacers - The Pacers are a good team and can rebound, but scoring will be a problem against the attacking defense of Miami. By now Miami is getting hungry and are thinking sweep so they can rest while Chicago and Boston beat the tar out of each other. Miami in 4 or 5.

3rd Round

2. Heat versus ????? - It doesn't matter who it is. Either team plays tough defense but should be no match for the focused Heat heading for the finals again. The series will be 6 games but Miami reigns supreme.