By Justin Thomas
Toronto Raptors (1) vs Washington Wizards (8)
The 1st seed Raptors will take on the 8th seed Wizards in the 1st round. The Raptors took the season series 2-1 over Washington. Throughout the season the Raptors were the clear cut best team in the east while the Wizards were less than consistent. In fact the Wizards ended the season 3-9 in their final 12 games. However you can never count out the dynamic duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Toronto’s own dynamic duo of Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry have been stellar all year as well. For the Raptors this they look to end their string of playoff inconsistencies and finally get over the hump to the Finals.
I predict the Raptors win in 7
Boston Celtics (2) vs Milwaukee Bucks (7)
The Boston Celtics limp into the playoffs this year with countless injuries. They won’t have their two best players (Kyrie Irving/Gordon Hayward) as well as their best defender in Marcus Smart. However this is a well-coached team and Brad Stevens has pulled off bigger challenges (Butler in the final 4). Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be looked on to carry the load for the C’s as they look to raise yet another banner at the Garden. For the Bucks they’ll be leaning on the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead a young and hungry team to their 1st playoff series victory since 2001. The teams split the season series 2-2 this year.
I predict the Bucks win in 7
Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs Miami Heat (6)
After long last the “Process” has finally come to fruition. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have led the Sixers out of total despair and sparked life into the Philly faithful. Some have even said the Sixers have what it takes to reach the conference finals. They also come into the playoffs rolling, having won 15 straight games. The majority of these wins coming without Embiid. For the Heat they’re still looking to get back to postseason glory in the post LeBron era. They’ll lean on Tyler Johnson and D-Wade in their quest at a first round upset. The teams did split the season series at 2-2 with both teams winning on their respective home courts.
I predict the Sixers will win in 5
Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs Indiana Pacers (5)
NBA fans can rejoice as we finally have a rematch of LeBron vs Lance Stephenson. Everyone can remember the antics Stephenson performed during that series against the Heat. From the flop on the ground that became a meme to the infamous blowing in LeBron’s ear which will go down in vine history. Although the Cavs are a four seed they still have the King and he is a different player come playoff time. LeBron, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith will be looking to head back to the NBA Finals for a 4th straight year. For the Pacers they will look towards Most Improved Player candidate Victor Oladipo and standout big man Mylez Turner to bring postseason success back to the Hoosier State. The Pacers actually won the season series this year 3-1.