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 Feldy's NBA Playoff review Part I - The Eastern Conference first round.

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TheFeldster
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20110413
PostFeldy's NBA Playoff review Part I - The Eastern Conference first round.

Well, the basketball section can always use some exposure IMO and the blog system here is sitting idle and needs a bit of a kick up the arse. So I'm gonna write one of these blogs about the biggest event in the basketball world, and it's just around the corner.

I am of course talking about: THE NBA PLAYOFFS

The seedings for the Eastern Conference were confirmed yesterday, and here's my take on them.

1 v 8 - CHICAGO BULLS VS INDIANA PACERS

The Chicago Bulls have stepped up to the plate this year. While the world turned to watch Miami fight for the Eastern title, the Bulls have slipped into the No. 1 seed with a relatively low profile. That could be set to change once the playoffs tip off. The Bulls will be hoping to change their playoff fortune after they lost to Cleveland in the first round last year, resulting in head coach Vinny Del Negro losing his job.

Their opponent will be the Indiana Pacers, making their first playoff appearance since 2006. Having beaten Charlotte and Milwaukee for the 8th seed, the Pacers have announced their intention to return to the NBA elite and it should be interesting to see how they go here.

KEY MATCHUP


Luol Deng v Danny Granger

There are plenty of players on the Chicago team that are better than Luol Deng. Derrick Rose and Joahkim Noah spring to mind. However, if the Bulls are to get through this series unscathed, they need to keep Danny Granger, the Pacers marquee forward, in check.

Deng isn't exactly a Defensive Player of the Year contender. But his 1 steal and .6 blocks a game is servicable. And he'll need to put every effort into defence if he is to contain his opponent. And the Pacers will look to Granger - as much as they have a lot of young talent, they'll need Granger to fire if they are a chance to cause an upset in the first round. Definitely a match-up to watch at the small forward position

IN SUMMARY

As much as the Pacers have a solid young team that could go on to great things if they stick together (and under Larry Bird, they may well do just that), I can't see them challenging the Bulls this early in the piece.

Chicago in 4.


2 v 7 - MIAMI HEAT VS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

When LeBron James declared that he was taking his talents to South Beach, everyone knew that the Miami Heat were in for a big year. Retaining Dwayne Wade and acquiring Chris Bosh was just icing on the cake for the Heat. A big year was had by the Heat, although they missed out on the No. 1 seed. A slow start had the NBA world talking, but the Heat are a genuine contender and not to be taken lightly.

Speaking of slow starts, they face off against the Philadelphia 76ers. This team started 5-14 on the year, before new coach Doug Collins turned the team around and put them in the playoffs. The Sixers will likely be missing one of their main scoring threats, Lou Williams, for this series.

KEY MATCHUP


Chris Bosh v Elton Brand

Consistency is the key for these big men for their respective teams. Chris Bosh led his Toronto Raptors team before heading to Miami, where he's at times struggled to fit into his new role behind LeBron James and Dwayne Wade in the pecking order.

Elton Brand has showed flashes of brilliance in his 12 years with Chicago, Philadelphia and the Clippers, but injury and form have stopped him from living up to his No. 1 pick status.

Both of these men are more than capable of lifting their team through a playoffs match when on song. Whether they both show up for the Playoffs remains to be seen. For the sake of good entertainment, I hope they do their teams proud.

IN SUMMARY

The 76ers without Lou Williams are very much punching above their weight in these playoffs. With LeBron and his allies keen to prove a point, I can't see anything but a Miami win here.

Miami in 4.

3 v 6 - BOSTON CELTICS VS NEW YORK KNICKS

While the superstar line up in Miami has hardly managed to keep itself out of the news, the two other massive lineups in the East meet up in a less high-profile encounter. The Boston Celtics, featuring the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are another year older since their Eastern Conference Championship in 2010, but proven competitors over the last 3 years with an enviable wealth of Playoff expierience.

The New York Knicks are a team reborn. The tenants at the world famous Madison Square Garden, the Knicks have floated in a sea of mediocrity. But with the additions of former Phoenix Suns forward/centre Amar'e Stoudamire, and one-time Denver Nuggets leaders Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Knicks are a brand new team and one of the most exciting heading into these Playoffs.

This series is going to be exciting, full of offense, rivalry and NBA action. As a result, it earns:

FELDY'S PICK OF THE ROUND (EAST) cheers


KEY MATCHUP


Paul Pierce vs Carmelo Anthony

"We want Melo. We want Melo."

Those three words were repeated over and over in the stands of the Madison Square Garden as the trade deadline approached. Stoudamire and his fellow Knicks warriors expressed frustration at the distraction, but still the chant came. To the Knicks franchise, the obvious became apparent. The people of New York wanted to entrust the fate of their franchise to perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

Now Melo has a chance to enter his first playoff series as a Knick, and comes up against one of the most recognized players in the league. Another All-Star Weekend regular, Paul Pierce is one of the most recognized and beloved names in Boston. And Shaq didn't give him the "Truth" moniker on a whim either. Pierce has been one of the greatest names in basketball for a long time, and Melo gets his first shot at a Playoffs matchup with him this year.

It will be an intriguing battle.

IN SUMMARY

Boston should be ok in this contest. While the talent in New York, led by the reliable Chauncey Billups at the point, is remarkable, the Boston Celtics have honed their art to a fine art. Every year, people say the Celtics can't do it, they're too old. Every year so far, the Celtics have proved them wrong. Will Boston do it again? I think they will, although I think they'll find it difficult to overcome a pumped up Madison Square Garden crowd on the road.

Boston in 7.

4 v 5 - ORLANDO MAGIC VS ATLANTA HAWKS

The Orlando Magic are still in the hunt for that elusive Championship. After taking the Playoffs by storm in 2009, beating out both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers on the final hurdle, the Magic have added and removed Vince Carter, lost and regained Hedo Turkoglu, and acquired Gilbert Arenas for Rashard Lewis. Those players all played/are playing their part in the Magic's success, but the majority of it can be attributed to one man - Dwight "Superman" Howard.

While the Magic have been fighting for the top, the Atlanta Hawks have always been in the mix. Usually good for a Playoffs spot, the Hawks have used the skills of Joe Johnson and co to keep themselves afloat. They need to make a push soon to be a genuine contender, is this their year?

KEY MATCHUP


Dwight Howard v Al Horford

The centre battle will be pivotal in this series. Dwight Howard and Al Horford both earned All-Star jumpers this year, and are arguably their teams' best players.

Howard has the accolades, the high profile status and the Superman cape. But Al Horford, while not as well-known, certainly has the ability to match it with Orlando's local hero.

The result of this match up will go a long way to deciding the winner of this series.

IN SUMMARY

Orlando have the cattle that Atlanta don't. It's as simple as that. Unless Horford shuts down Howard most nights, and Joe Johnson is on song at all times, I can't see the Hawks getting through, although they may steal a couple of matches at best.

Orlando in 5.
_____________________________________

I hope you enjoyed reading my Playoffs summary, if you made it this far. Head over to the basketball section for chatter about the upcoming Playoffs, and may the best team win.
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Feldy's NBA Playoff review Part I - The Eastern Conference first round. :: Comments

Only just saw this now Feldster. I'll admit to skimming past the ORL-ATL preview (what can a distinterested guy do? Wink). Love the setup you've got here and reminding everyone that the East is where it's at!

My tips for the East:
Orlando in 5
Boston in 7
Chicago in 4
Miami in 5

In Deng's defense, it would be pretty on par to say he's actually been our second-best player this year. He's certainly been amazing with his consistency. However, I guess your point on him was more so about defense, and his consistency has been more offense-wise, knocking down shots and providing a second scoring option. We rely on a good strong side defense taking the pressure off other guys, allowing at least one of Boozer or Noah to rebound (or Thomas/Gibson, whoever's in the game), so hopefully Deng does a serviceable enough job as to not necessitate the bigs leaving their man to cover Granger. If Granger gets looks (he's a scorer, he's going to get some, just hopefully not too many), he better hope he hits them, with the league's second-best rebounding team awaiting with the likes of Noah, Boozer, Asik, Gibson, Thomas and Deng, there won't be a whole lot of second chances for Indiana at all.

Miami should waltz through Philly in 5 I think. And I also had NY-BOS going to a big seventh. Boston very underwhelming at the moment, though we've said that about them prior to the playoffs before so I won't write them off as a title threat. NY with a 7-game W streak just a couple games ago is clearly playing some pretty decent ball.

You forgot to add that Horford pulls nicer girlfriends than Howard Wink

Thanks for the write-up, until I saw this I thought I was the only one getting into the playoff spirit.
Yeah, I was more justifying putting Deng in the key matchup with that comment, I know he's a good player.

But yeah, shutting down Granger is vital. He can be deadly if he's not checked, but I reckon Thibodeau and the Bulls already know this if the Bulls record in their own division this year is any indication Smile
They were the only Central team to beat us this year, and we made a huge comeback to almost steal that one, losing in overtime. So they've shown theyre not incapable of beating us but no chance they do it more than once. Even if Granger lights up we outmatch them enough in other areas to win the series easily. Your own Bucks had a couple first round series with Indy early in the decade. To my memory we've never played Indy in the very first round.
 

Feldy's NBA Playoff review Part I - The Eastern Conference first round.

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