NBA Playoff Surprises – East
Earlier we looked at the surprises in the Western Conference so for in the NBA playoffs. Now, we’ll take a look at what shocked us over the last week in the East and what we can look forward to over the next few days.
Atlanta vs. Indiana
We all saw the Pacers struggle down the stretch in the regular season, but it’s still a surprise to see the Atlanta Hawks up 3 games to 2 in the series headed into Game 6. Jeff Teague has been a force for Atlanta in their wins and the Hawks have exploited the defense of Roy Hibbert early and often. For the Pacers to win the next 2 games and advance, they will need to find a way to return to their early season form.
Miami vs. Charlotte
This is the only series of the first 8 that wasn’t a surprise. The far superior Miami Heat took it to the Bobcats and showed why they are a Championship favorite. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade took over when they needed to and the role-players for the Heat did their jobs. Whoever they run into in the second round is going to have a very tough time with a Miami team that is getting some extra rest off of their opening round sweep of the Bobcats.
Toronto vs. Brooklyn
The surprise here is that the young Toronto Raptors are not intimidated by the veteran Nets, and they are not backing down. With both teams trading wins on each others home floors, the Raptors have shown they can bounce back after a couple of tough losses. The old guard of the Nets seems to have some issues matching the intensity of the team from Toronto.
Even though the Raptors are turning the ball over 19+ times a game, they have kept each game close and have shown that they can finish in close games against a veteran team. If the Raptors sneak by the Nets, I look for a very interesting matchup with Lebron and the Heat in the second round.
Washington vs. Chicago
There were a lot of experts who predicted a Wizards series win, but very few could have predicted that it would have been so easy. The Bulls looked completely overmatched at times and without Derrick Rose, Chicago had a very difficult time getting easy baskets. The tough front court of Gortat and Nene outworked Joakim Noah, which is not an easy task, and John Wall lead the Wizards offense with the grace of a veteran.
With two series in the East already finished, all eyes will be on the Atlanta/Indiana and Toronto/Brooklyn series. Can the Hawks complete the upset of the Pacers and if so, what will that mean for Indiana this off-season? Will Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett put the Nets on their backs and carry them to the second round, or will DeMar Derozan and Kyle Lowry quiet a lot of experts and continue leading the country of Canada into Miami to face the Heat? I know I’ll be watching.
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