Monday , Apr , 13 , 2009 Oly Sandor

How will Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, and Atlanta do in the playoffs?

How will Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, and Atlanta do in the playoffs?Clear your schedule. The playoffs are coming. 

On Thursday, the second season begins. Tell the spouse you’re on sabbatical, send the kids to the grandparents, and take a leave from your job –unless you can work from home by the flat screen.

The playoffs are do-or-die, smoke-or-get smoked, winner takes all, and the last dance (and no, I’m not referring to that lousy flick your soon to be ex spouse made you watch on date night) all rolled in one.

Of course, we’re not condoning anti-social behaviour. Jokes aside, the post season is serious business. Over the next few days, HoopsVibe The Blog is dropping a series of quick-hit playoff previews.

Today, we’re looking at the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. As always, read the post, form an opinion, and let me know if I’m wrong in the comment box below.

1) Cleveland …

Realistic Goal: NBA Title.

Keys: The Cavaliers must reach the Eastern Conference Finals as quickly as possible. This means staying focused and finishing off their first and second round opponents in a maximum of five games.

If King James and his men can avoid expending energy early on, they’ll likely beat Boston. After all, they don’t call it homecourt advantage for nothing, especially when considering the Cavaliers are 39-1 at Quicken Loans Arena.

2) Boston …

Realistic Goal: NBA Title.

Keys: Hopefully, for Celtic fans, Kevin Garnett is speeding up his recovery by living in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The Big Ticket missed 20 of the last 24 games and must be at full strength for the club to win their eighteenth banner.

Garnett isn’t the only question mark. Without James Posey, the bench has been up-and-down. Unlike last season, the fabled green-and-white has looked vulnerable for stretches of this year. And now they have to go through Cleveland.

Still, you have to knock out the defending champs, right? So don’t count out Boston.

3) Orlando …

Realistic Goal: Solidifying their status as the east’s rising power.

Keys: Even with an elite post, great forwards, and a decent supporting cast, the Magic has a case of the Aretha Franklins.

Two things have to happen for Orlando to get that playoff R-E-S-P-E-C-T. First, Dwight Howard must put this club on his shoulders, or Superman cape, and take his already amazing game to another level. Second, their backcourt must hold up over a seven-game series.

But if everything falls in place, can the Magic really upset the Cavaliers or Celtics?

4) Atlanta … 

Realistic Goal: Winning a playoff round.

Keys: No more Clippers-east jokes. This year, The ATL has emerged as a solid club capable of winning a playoff round and challenging the very best.

The Hawks are talented –Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson hold down the guard spots, while Marvin Williams, Al Horford, and Josh Smith form an athletic frontcourt. And they have heaps of confidence after pushing the Celtics to seven games last season.

Nobody should sleep on Atlanta. This team is dangerous.

How will Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, and Atlanta do in the playoffs? And come back to HoopsVibe The Blog tomorrow for part 2 of our Eastern Conference playoff preview. Photo courtesy of RMTip21.