Thursday , Apr , 19 , 2007 Oly Sandor

You vote on the Eastern Conference Winners, Head-to-Head

What Eastern Conference teams will advance to the second round? I’ve got Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Miami as winners. Read another of our Head-to-Head series, playoff preview edition. Pick your first round winners and vote in the comment box below. We’ll tally the votes and announce the results.

{{Head-to-Head:}} The regular season is finally over. This means the playoffs have arrived. Sixteen teams qualified for the NBA’s second season. In two months, only one team will be standing.

There’s nothing better than a Sunday triple-header of playoff basketball. So get ready NBA fans. Below is your Eastern Conference playoff preview.

Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Miami should advance. What do you think? Read on and weigh in with your opinion. Enter your picks in the comment box below and we will tally up the results.

Detroit (1) versus Orlando (8)

The Pistons are firing on all cylinders. Chris Webber’s passing has given Detroit’s starting five a boost, while the bench is deeper than ever.

Plain and simple, the Magic are a bad basketball team. But, somehow, they made the playoffs. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard must be at their best or this will be a short series.

Worth Watching: Grant Hill, the former Pistons star, returns to Detroit to battle his old team. On a lesser note, Darko Milicic, the former Pistons bench-warmer, also returns to Detroit to battle his old team.

Prediction: Detroit will win in five games. Motown are peaking. Orlando’s going to take a serious ass-whopping.

Cleveland (2) versus Washington (7)

The Cavaliers have put together a strong season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference. Here’s the question everybody’s asking about Cleveland: is James’ supporting cast good enough to challenge Detroit? The answer is no. But they’re good enough to win a round or two.

Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards’ eccentric superstar, is out with a knee injury. Caron Butler, the team’s best all-round player, is out with a broken hand. Without Arenas and Butler, Washington struggled and aren’t good enough to compete in the post-season.

Worth Watching: You know him as the guy Arenas beat in shooting practice. But DeShawn Stevenson is also a pretty solid lock-down defender. It will be interesting to see if he can slow down James.

Prediction: Cleveland will win in five games. The Cavaliers are too good. And the Wizards are too banged-up.

Toronto (3) versus New Jersey (6)

The Raptors are an impressive team. They play together. They’re unselfish. And they work hard. Coach Sam Mitchell will have his team prepared for the second season. Chris Bosh, a legitimate MVP candidate, will get his against the Nets’ soft interior defense. And Toronto’s two point guards, T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon, will keep superstar Jason Kidd busy.

New Jersey’s fate is linked to Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, and Richard Jefferson. As the big three go, so go the Nets. These guys can still bring it, but the Nets, as a team, lack any sort of inside presence.

Worth Watching: The Raptor faithful will be waiting for Vince Carter. They’ll boo VC, hoping he’ll fall to the floor and ‘fake’ an injury. But Toronto’s fans will be disappointed because Carter and the Nets have been on fire, winning several big games down the stretch to qualify for the post-season.

Prediction: Toronto will win in seven games. The Nets are better than their record indicates, but they’re not better than the surging Raptors. Home-court will help Toronto triumph.

Chicago (5th seed with home-court) versus Miami (4)

The Bulls play great defense. The Bulls have great chemistry. The Bulls always give a great effort. Sounds like a coach’s dream, huh?

Here’s where the dream ends. The Bulls lack offense. They have no low-post scoring. And they have no perimeter player who can create for others.

But can the Heat exploit the Bulls’ lack of offense? This is a fair question. After all, Miami’s had an inconsistent season. If Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal play well, everything else falls into place.

Worth Watching:
The five-spot. Ben Wallace and Shaq-Diesel will fight for low post supremacy.

Prediction: The Heat will win in seven games. Miami, even with all their problems, still have the series two best players in Wade and Shaq.

Weigh in with your opinion. Enter your picks in the comment box below. Hoopsvibe will tally up the votes and announce the results.

Oly Sandor is HoopsVibe’s NBA analyst. Contact him at [email protected]