The NBA season has officially reached a conclusion. For the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference, those teams have the honor of saying that they had a successful regular season. However, as we learned on many occasions, success is not measured by what a team does in the regular season, rather, success is measured by what the team does in the playoffs. The playoffs begin on Saturday and there will be no shortage of storylines for Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups
1. Miami Heat Vs. 8. Milwaukee Bucks
- The Skinny: The Miami Heat were the NBA’s most impressive team during the NBA regular season. The Heat won 27 consecutive games at one point during the season, but winning streaks during the regular season are meaningless. The Heat will hope to push their title streak to 2, but before they do, the team must get past the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat made easy work of the Bucks during the regular season as they took the season series 3-1. Game 1 between the Heat and Bucks will be on Sunday at 6 p.m. central Time.
2. New York Knicks Vs. 7. Boston Celtics
- The Skinny: Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks look to continue their hot-streak as they open round 1 of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics. The fact that the Celtics made the playoffs is somewhat surprising. After Rajon Rondo tore his ACL prior to the All-Star game this season, there was a sense that the Celtics would begin a rebuild that would have seen the team attempt to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the trade deadline. Neither Pierce nor Garnett were traded and the Celtics rallied during the second half of the season to earn the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks took the season series against the Celtics 3-1. Game 1 between the Knicks and Celtics will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. central time.
- The Skinny: The Indiana Pacers certainly took advantage of the misfortunes of their division, specifically with Derrick Rose missing the entire season for the Chicago Bulls. There was a time that the Pacers were appearing to be the second best team in the Eastern Conference, however, the Knicks went on a winning streak towards the end of the season to leapfrog over the Pacers. The Hawks continue to be a team that sneaks into the playoffs, however, the Pacers likely have the advantage in this series. The Pacers and Hawks split the season series 2-2. Game 1 between the Pacers and Hawks will be on Sunday at 12 p.m. central time.
- The Skinny: The Chicago Bulls may not be the first seed in the Eastern Conference like the team was last season, but that is not to say that the Bulls season was not impressive. The Bulls played the entire season without Derrick Rose, who continues to rehab from a torn ACL that he suffered last April, and still managed to make the playoffs as a five-seed. Rumors have speculated that Rose could return for the Bulls in the playoffs, and if he does, then the team would be an instant contender in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, the Bulls have a favorable matchup against the Nets, who they were 3-1 against during the regular season. Game 1 between the Nets and Bulls will be on Saturday at 7 p.m. central time.