The top ten in the East are: Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, Cavaliers, Knicks, Nets, Heat, Eagles, Raptors, Bulls. The 11-15 places in the East are: Wizards, Pacers, Magic, Hornets, Pistons.
The Heat, Eagles, Raptors, and Bulls will compete for two play-off spots. Not surprisingly, the Heat will occupy one spot, and the remaining spot is for the Eagles to compete with the Raptors and Bulls.
At present, the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs has been determined to be the 76ers VS Nets, Cavaliers VS Knicks.
There is basically no suspense in this round of matchup. The Nets have become a civilian team after the trade, and it is commendable to be able to stabilize the sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets, a team with rich forward defensive resources, are lacking in single defense inside. It is unrealistic to expect Clarkston to withstand Embiid.
In this round of the series, the 76ers have no pressure to advance, and the suspense may be whether the Nets can win a game or two.
Cavaliers VS Knicks
Last season, neither the Knicks nor the Cavaliers made the playoffs. Last summer, both teams upgraded their rosters. The Cavaliers traded for Mitchell, and the Knicks traded for Brunson. Both performed well this season.
Both teams have excellent offensive efficiency this season. The Knicks have an offensive efficiency of 117, ranking fourth in the league, and the Cavaliers have an offensive efficiency of 115.7, ranking seventh in the league. On the defensive end, the Cavaliers have a defensive efficiency of 110.1 this season, first in the league, and the Knicks 114, 19th in the league.
In comparison, the Cavaliers have Garland and Mitchell on the outside with fierce offensive firepower, and Mobley and Allen on the inside with strong defense. The Knicks’ offense is relatively balanced, with Brunson on the outside, Barrett on the front line, and Randall on the inside.
This round of the series may play a few more games, but it is still more optimistic that the Cavaliers will advance.
The opponents of the Bucks and Celtics will have to wait until the play-offs are over. It is very likely that the Celtics will face the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals last season in the first round. The Heat are currently ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference and have home court advantage in the playoffs. They have played 4 games against the Eagles this season, with 3 wins and 1 loss.
Celtics VS Heat
The two opponents in the Eastern Conference Finals last season will most likely meet in the first round. Compared with last season, the Celtics’ lineup is stronger and deeper this season. This season, the Celtics rank second in the league in offensive efficiency, third in defensive efficiency, and first in net efficiency. The Celtics are the only team in the league that ranks in the top three on both offense and defense.
Compared with last season, the Heat’s strength has not improved much. The Heat had little movement in the trading market last summer and in the middle of this season, relying more on tapping the potential of losing the draft. The biggest problem for the Heat this season is offense. This season, the Heat have an offensive efficiency of 112.1, 25th in the league, and a defensive efficiency of 113, 9th in the league.
Last season, the Heat ranked 11th in the league in offensive efficiency. The playoffs are the time to compete for talent, and the Heat’s main rotation lineup has a bunch of undrafted picks. Obviously, talent can’t compete with the Celtics.
There is not much pressure on the Green Army to advance, and the suspense is how many games the Heat can win. They played 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and I’m afraid they won’t be able to play this time.
It is unknown which team the Eagles, Raptors, or Bulls can advance to the playoffs. But no matter which team advances, for the Bucks, there is no way to bring too many challenges. None of these teams has enough defensive resources to limit Antetokounmpo.
Those who are worth seeing in the Eastern Conference playoffs also get the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics VS76ers in the semifinals should still be interesting.
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