The first round of the NBA Playoffs wraps up with all higher seeds advancing, Jarael and Ryan continue their predictions in the Eastern Conference.
Miami Heat (1) v Philadelphia 76ers (4)
Jarael: This would have been a really compelling series but once again the healthiest teams around this time continue to move on. Without Embiid I don’t see the Sixers being competitive. They need his leadership, his scoring, and his defense. Sixers are not equipped to be led by Harden. This series will be competitive but the Heat will prevail. I still don’t feel like the Heat are a championship team but they slide into the Conference Finals (Heat 4-1).
Ryan: What terrible luck for the 76ers. This season finally felt like the year for the 76ers to get that ring, well at least I put money on that. But with Emiid out, at minimum for the first couple of games in the series, this could get out of hand quickly. The Miami Heats’ defense and Jimmy Butler will be too much for the Emiid-less 76ers. (Heat 4-2).
Boston Celtics (2) v Milwaukee Bucks (3)
Jarael: This is going to suck. The Bucks have that championship pedigree but nothing is more motivating than beating the defending champs, a team that has eliminated the C’s a few times recently in the first round. Whoever wins this series will be in the NBA finals and it looks like the Celtics are ready. With no Middleton, I don’t think this will be close. (Celtics 4-2).
Ryan: Boston looks good. It feels that this young core they have had for a while has finally pieced it all together. They came out and immediately set the tone against the Nets and completely made KD and Kyrie so out of sync that Steve Nash was sending out Blake Griffin to jump-start the offense. With an injured Middleton this series will be tough on Giannis. Will the other supporting cast step up like they did to close out the last series against the Bulls? I doubt it. (Celtics 4-2).