That’s how I fared in predicting the first round of this year’s Eastern Conference playoffs.
My downfall? Miami. Thought the Heat had enough to put away Atlanta, but the Hawks proved home-court advantage does matter because they did their thing in Game 7 at home against Miami today.
Not going to really brag about the picking the other three first-round series accurately. The Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to douse the Detroit Pistons with relative ease and did just that in sweeping their Central Division rivals.
The Orlando Magic did what they were supposed to do against the Philadelphia 76ers while the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls gave us a first-round series of the ages. The Celtics finally put away the Bulls in Game 7 on Saturday night.
So let’s look at the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Unlike the Western Conference playoffs, I don’t see how the top two seeds in the East will meet in the conference finals.
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks
Game 1: Tuesday, 8 p.m. (TNT).
How they got here: Cavaliers def. Detroit in four games; Atlanta def. Miami in seven games.
Prediction: Cavaliers in five.
Why: The Cavaliers won’t lose at home against the Hawks and will find a way to split in Atlanta. In a year or two, Atlanta will be ready for moments like this. Not now.
(2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Orlando Magic
Game 1: Monday, 8 p.m. (TNT).
How they got here: Celtics def. Chicago in seven games; Magic def. Philadelphia in six games.
Prediction: Magic in six.
Why: Boston barely got past the Bulls without Kevin Garnett. Don’t see how the Celtics will be able to handle the Magic without their defensive enforcer and emotional leader.