2014 NBA Playoff Roundtable – Eastern Conference Predictions

Fourteen have fallen by the wayside. Sixteen have survived. In two weeks, about half of those remaining teams will see their respective runs end. By the time the rains consume the skies again in late May, each conference will have its champion. Finally, by mid-June, a new King of the basketball mountain will emerge.

Of course, the Miami Heat might just win it all again, and it’ll be the same King.


Paul Millsap (top left) already leads PG24, 1-0, while D-Will (bottom right) and
his Nets won Game 1 north of the border against the Raps.

As exciting and highlight-filled the regular season has been, this is the part of the NBA calendar that every person – player, coach, fan, ballboy, the guy who sells hotdogs outside the bleachers – really waits for. This is when one just throws percentages out the window. This is when tanking is just fiction. This is when fouls are harder, misses clang a little louder, and made shots feel much sweeter.

This is when only one thing really matters – winning that NBA Championship.

Together with some really intense NBA fans, we now give you our preview of what should go down in history as one of the tightest and most memorable Playoffs ever.

Here are the folks who have taken time to give their two cents:

Levi Verora (LV) - currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted with some hot girls at the just-concluded 2014 Asian Volleyball Club Championships for Men here in Manila.

Rolly Mendoza (RM) - currently writing for HoopNut.com; has a love-hate relationship with Chris Bosh and thinks Chalmers has been more Wario than Super Mario this season.

Jay Santiago (JS) - the everyman who follows the NBA closer than he’d care to admit; recently won the 2013-2014 Hoop Nut Fantasy NBA League (and, consequently, adidas gift checks); Spurs superfan to the core.

Enzo Flojo (EF) - founder of HoopNut.com and currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted overeating at home in lieu of an out-of-town trip for Holy Week; a solid supporter of the anybody-but-Miami movement about to sweep the globe.

In Part One of thus Playoff Preview series, we will look at the Eastern Conference first round Playoff match-ups. 

Note: Most of the following were written BEFORE today's games were played. If there were any "wrong" predictions, well then chalk that up to the Basketball Gods, who are really the ones in control of everything anyway.

(1) Indiana Pacers vs (8) Atlanta Hawks:
LV: Pacers in 6. The Pacers won't claim the Eastern Conference top seed (along with struggling in the regular season homestretch) just to be shocked in the first round.

RM: Pacers in 6 because Lance Stephenson will provide selfish "look at me" moments that will cost them wins. However, Lance will also come through by leading them in rebounds and assists and maybe get a triple-double as well.

JS: Indiana over Atlanta in 5. Despite limping to the finish line, the Pacers quintet are just too much for the duo of Millsap and Teague to handle. More like vultures than hawks, Atlanta gets to scavenge one win, but that’s Indiana losing pace and fumbling it away, really.

EF: Indy got this in 5, despite intense suckage (achievement unlocked: word invention) on their part. I don’t see any easy games, with Millsap and Teague sure to give the Pacers fits, but PG24, Born Ready, and Jamaican Patty Roy Hibbert should play well enough to carry the top seed through.

(2) Miami Heat vs (7) Charlotte Bobcats:
LV: Heat in 4. Miami wants to three-peat, and they've swept the Bobcats in the regular season (4-0), including a game where LeBron James waxed hot for 61.

RM: Heat in 4 because Dwyane Wade will be rejuvenated and fresh after "resting" for 28 games. Chris Bosh will also be energized after showing up in probably half of their regular season games. Both guys have a lot left for the Bobcats.

JS: Miami over Charlotte in 5. Should be a sweep, but Al Jefferson’s throwback post moves gets one monster game against Miami who has no one to guard him 1-on-1. Even so, place a bobcat on some heat, and you get gamey roast meat to serve to the King.

EF: Champs in 5, with one loss in Charlotte because the dynamic duo of Al-Jeff and Kemba Walker has should unload at least one terrific game in front of their fans. The Charlotte faithful deserve it, and, frankly, I would love to see it.

(3) Toronto Raptors vs (6) Brooklyn Nets:
LV: Nets in 7. Experience will push Brooklyn to the next level. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have an extremely small window of opportunity to make one last crack at the finals too so they badly want to win.

RM: Raptors in 7 because their "We the North" playoff video was nice, and Drake's presence is bigger than Jay-Z, who left the Nets. Also, Kyle Lowry is the best player in this game, and he will dominate the series to show that he is the All-Star and not Joe Johnson.

JS: Brooklyn over Toronto in 6. The overachieving Raptors ripped through East teams this season, but they are biting off more than they can chew in this series against the very thick hides of the Nets veterans. Brooklyn has its net around this one.

EF: Let’s face it – Brooklyn-Miami is destined to go down, and the NBA will not have it any other way. All the powers in the universe (yo, whattup, refs?!) will ensure the Raps go down in 6.

(4) Chicago Bulls vs (5) Washington Wizards:
LV: Bulls in 7. Noah's arc is better than the great Wall. Chicago got the 4th seed even without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, and their success will depend on how their defensive gem Joakim Noah performs.

RM: Bulls in 6 because Joakim Noah will take over the series and guard everyone including John Wall. Meanwhile, DJ Augustin will think he is a better player than John Wall. Augustin will hijack their offense and take tough shots resulting in wins for the Wiz.

JS: Chicago over Washington in 7. The Bulls are charging towards a hard Wall and crew that’s so pumped to finally be in the playoffs. Wizards use all its tricks to pull 3 wins out of a hat, but the Bulls will spoil the magic show with stifling defense and all around team play to advance to the semis.

EF: Much love for the Bulls and their can-do attitude, but they will have it tough against a game and youthful Wizards club. Washington’s inexperience will doom them in six games, but the Bulls cannot take these upstarts lightly.

In Part Two, we take a look at the Western Conference, and then, in Part Three, we pick the Conference Champs and the overall NBA Kings!

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