That was a quick first round in which there wasn’t much of a fight from the losing teams. Most expected the Bucks, Raptors, 76ers and Celtics to make it already, but to have the Eastern Conference first round go as fast as it did shows how much progress needs to be made before all four teams can feel joint competition from the other twelve. Nevertheless, these two series will be pretty fun to watch.
First Round Record in Eastern Conference: 3-1
#1 Milwaukee Bucks v. #4 Boston Celtics
It was a strange relief to many basketball fans that the Celtics showed up and stole three of the four games from the Pacers in the last round. While most of the series leaned on defense, Boston’s stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward pushed the Celtics offense to do just enough. They’d make a great choice to push further into the playoffs, except…
Their next opponent is the team with the best record in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks made quick work of the Detroit Pistons, even with Blake Griffin doing everything he could to push the series. The Bucks are the better team in almost every facet of this series. A lot has to happen for Milwaukee to be eliminated and Boston advances
Prediction: Milwaukee wins series 4-1
#2 Toronto Raptors v. #3 Philadelphia 76ers
Speaking of quick work, both Toronto and Philly made sure they could easily get into the second round. While both teams showed vulnerability, Philadelphia looked more unbalanced, whereas Toronto looked in control against Orlando with not so many slip-ups. I do think this could be a seven game series because of how both teams will come to play and show everything they have, but I don’t see the Sixers advancing without taking more heavy hits. Toronto seems to be the better team, in which there’s an established system (not a shot at Brent Brown, it’s just the dynamic the Raptors have). Unlike Brooklyn, Toronto will be more physical on both sides of the court.
Prediction: Toronto wins series 4-2