The first round of playoffs is over in the NBA. So far this postseason, there have been no upsets, however, there had certainly been a fair share of incredible moments and games. In the East, we are getting ready for two matchups that promise to be entertaining; the matchups being the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Toronto Raptors. These games should all be close series with all the teams being quite evenly matched based on how they’ve been playing this postseason.
The first series between the Celtics and the Bucks should be very intense. As the Bucks are the first seed and Celtics are the fourth seed, the Bucks are favored to win. Their skilled lineup and presence of All-Star team captain and most valuable player candidate point guard Giannis Antetokounmpo make them a team to be reckoned with, as seen by their outstanding performance leading the league for a majority of the regular season.
The Bucks didn’t only play well in the regular season, but in the first round of the postseason as well. They swept their opponents, the Detroit Pistons, 4-0. The team won each of these games by at least 16 points as well, not even letting their opponents get close to beating them.
The Celtics will certainly have to work hard to compete with the Bucks, however, they had a sweep of their own. The Celtics came out with force against the Indiana Pacers and didn’t let up on the gas for a second. Based on seeding this should have been an extremely close series with the Pacers at the fifth seed. This wasn’t the case due to the Celtics ability to rise up in the postseason. We have seen this in the past few seasons with last year being the most memorable for the Celtics. The team has the ability to bring everything together in the playoffs and make the basketball that they play better than anything that they’ve done all preseason. Last year they were able to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals without both point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward Gordon Hayward.
The series between the 76ers and the Raptors should be equally as exciting.
With the Raptors being the second seed and 76ers being the third seed, this should be a close matchup. The talent on either team is quite equal as well. The Raptors have a strong lineup with small forward Kawhi Leonard leading the charge. The team lost their first game against the Orlando Magic in the first round, but after that, they only got better. The team was able to crush their opponents four games straight once they figured out their rhythm, ending the series 4-1.
The 76ers faced the same exact situation, losing to the Nets in their first game at home. After this, they too found their momentum and won four straight games. The similarities in the records for both pre and postseason, as well as in the play styles make this matchup anybody’s game.
The Eastern Conference has a lot of close matchups to come. With games starting this week it will be exciting to see who comes out on top. Both series are between teams that have similar records and the same amount of drive. This will be quite a battle to see who is truly the best in the East.