Round One is in the books, and it pretty much was a yawnfest. Well, except one series. Round 2 promises some more solid match-ups in both conferences, today we will look at the Eastern Conference. The first round saw things go pretty much how they were supposed to: Cleveland pretty much cruised past Indiana, Washington took out Atlanta, Boston beat a game Chicago team, and Toronto was pushed a bit by the young and hungry Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics
This series started today, with the Celtics riding Isaiah Thomas Jr. to victory in Game One 123-111. Thomas is playing out of his mind, and in the game he actually lost teeth after taking an elbow, and also spent Saturday attending the funeral of his sister who tragically passed away last week. Nothing has been able to stop him this year, and this adversity seems to be fueling him and his teammates as they rally around him. Washington is going to have to elevate its defense if they want to have any shot here, Bradley Beal and John Wall are going to get theirs, the problem is when they spend the extra defender around the perimeter they lack the personal to recover in the paint. When it boils down to it, Washington's defense just can't contain everything Boston can throw at them. Al Horford will dominate inside, especially with Markieff Morris now hobbled by a sprained ankle. Jae Crowder looks locked in, and with a deeper bench, I see Boston taking this one in 6 games.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors
Now this should be an interesting series. These two went to a Game 6 in last years Eastern Conference Finals, but Toronto just kinda ran out of bodies and gas towards the end. This year, They have the added Serge Ibaka factor to try and match up with the interior of Tristan Tompson and Kevin Love for Cleveland. The biggest question coming in for Toronto would have to be which Kyle Lowry shows up. He has not played exceptionally well in big series with the season on the line in the past, and when the opposition has shooters like Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, you need to be able to keep the pace. And let's face it: Toronto does not have LeBron James. LeBron is in rarefied air right now, he almost averaged a triple double against Indiana, and is playing out of this world right now. Way I see it? The Cavs shoot the Raptors out of the arena, Love and Thompson overwhelm the smaller Ibaka, and Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are just not enough, as the playoff Cavs raise their game and take out Toronto in 6 games. Look for whoever wins this series to most likely represent the East in the NBA Finals as well.
Look for a preview of the Western Conference later today.