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A comprehensive analysis of the battle of the East

As the playoffs hit right around the corner in Orlando, the Eastern Conference is done and dusted, with teams ready to face their counterparts in a never before seen playoffs series format.

1- Milwaukee Bucks v 8- Orlando Magic

The Bucks once again, finish with the best record in the NBA, with Giannis Antetokounmpo with contention for MVP once again. Khris Middleton is close to joining elite players in the 50/40/90 club, to replicate a great season for the Bucks.

Orlando Magic look to provide a surprise against the best team in the NBA, with Vucevic looking to be the main man. However, this seems highly unlikely as the Bucks are on a 4 game winning streak against the Magic. The Bucks have won 61 times and the Magic 53 time all together in this overall match up.

The last time these teams met in the playoffs was in 2001, with a 3-1 win in favour to the Bucks. The Magic look to bounce back after a first round exit last season to the Raptors. The Bucks want to make it to the NBA Finals after being rear ended by the Raptors last season.

PREDICTION: 4-1 to Bucks

2- Toronto Raptors v 7- Brooklyn Nets

At the start of the season, analysts were not expecting the Raptors to even make playoffs after losing Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers. This resulted in the Raptors coming in the second seed in the East for a second consecutive year. With no expectations on their shoulders. Siakam could win most improved again, with an average of 22.9 points per game. Credit is given when credit is due, veteran Kyle Lowry stepped up his defensive game, being the number one player taking charges in the NBA. Fred Vanvleet had a monstrous season, with his best season yet of 17.6 points. Faith in the team and a constant morale boost by coach Nick Nurse has led them to where they are today. As well as attacking and defensive efficiency.

The Nets have been struggling with inconsistent rotation all season, Kyrie Irving has decided not to play in the bubble, Kevin Durant is out and so too is DeAndre Jordan. Irving was averaging 27.5 points per game. However, they have some confidence, as the last matchup resulted in a Nets win. Key players are out for the New York team, which could damage any chance that the Nets may have in the first round of the playoffs. Raptors are the reigning champions, and the Nets, did not even make it out of the first round of playoffs last season.

PREDICTION: 4-0 SWEEP for the Toronto Raptors

3- Boston Celtics v 6- Philadelphia 76ers

Losing Kyrie Irving is not a major setback for the Boston Celtics, who have had key players such as Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker step up. Tatum is averaging a career high of 23.4 points, a massive jump from the 15.7 average last season, and has had his career high 41 points this season as well. Another BIG name for the Most Improved award. He also received his first ever All-Star selection. Kemba Walker since arriving in Boston has an average of 20.4 points, not his best points wise, but is managing well under a new playoff environment team.

What the 76ers lack is their star players, which is what the Celtics have. the 76ers received a huge blow when it was confirmed that Ben Simmons will be out for the rest of the season. He was averaging 16.4 points per game. Embiid is not looking his fittest, and may have to sit out some games in the playoffs. The 76ers have won 190 times against the Celtics, compared to the Celtics winning 262 time against them.

Both sides had disappointing playoffs last season. The 76ers are still having nightmares from the dagger shot by Kawhi Leonard against Raptors, whilst Celtics lost 4-1 to the Bucks in the conference semi-finals.

PREDICTION: 4-2 to Celtics

4- Miami Heat v 5- Indiana Pacers

Miami Heat’s stars of Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have looked strong this season, Adebayo averages 15.9 points, whilst Butler averages 19.9 points. Both these stars earned all-star appearances this season. Heat have 50 all time wins against the Pacers.

Pacers have looked good in the bubble, with a 7-3 run in their last 10 games. With the return of Victor Oladipo and with the sudden emergence of T.J Warren stardom, dropping 39 points against the Lakers, and 53 against the 76ers. Indiana look a lot better than the Heat. Pacers have a much better record against the Heat, beating them 66 times in their overall encounters, including their last meeting on the 10th of August.

Pacers were swept in the first round of last years playoffs to the Celtics, whilst the Heat didn’t even make playoffs last season.

Expect a very close encounter.

PREDICTION: 4-3 to Pacers

Photo Source: Indy Cornrows.

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