Peltzman’s NBA Playbook: Eastern Conference first-round predictions

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Eastern Conference Playoff Graphic. - Multimedia Editor / Drew Peltzman

Boston Celtics (1) vs Miami Heat (8) | Boston up 1-0

The Boston Celtics will beat the Miami Heat in five games. Their 38-4 record at home will ensure a game two victory and send themselves to South Beach feeling well to jump out to a 3-0 lead by taking game one in Miami. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will find a way to win game four, perhaps matching up with a cold shooting night from the Celtics, sending the series back to Boston. The C’s will close it out at home, and advance to the second round for the seventh time in eight years.

New York Knicks (2) vs Philadelphia 76ers (7) | New York up 2-0

The New York Knicks will win this series in seven games. The inescapable playoff injury bug has found Joel Embiid once again. The 76ers center is now nursing a mysterious left eye injury in addition to his left knee injury suffered in late January. If Josh Hart continues to shoot over 50% from three, the Sixers will continue to lose as his open shots are the trade-off to completely slowing down Brunson. Even if the Sixers take care of home court, the Knicks might just be able to hit enough threes and wear Embiid down just enough to take it in seven.

Milwaukee Bucks (3) vs Indiana Pacers (6) | Tied 1-1

Pascal Siakam and the Indiana Pacers will defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. Although the Bucks won game one by 15 points, they struggled to score in the second half, putting up only 40 total points. These late-game struggles continued in game two, getting outscored 65-53 in the second half. Haliburton has been dishing the rock to teammates securing 12 assists in game two. I expect Haliburton to have an offensive avalanche in one of the games they play at home, and carry the momentum to win the series at home in game six.

Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs Orlando Magic (5)

The Cavaliers will defeat the Orlando Magic in five games. The Orlando Magic just do not have enough scoring to keep up with the Cavaliers, but have the defense to keep it close. They will only take one in Orlando unless Paolo Banchero bumps his scoring a significant margin. The Cavaliers’ defense has been an even match to that of the Magic, but they have just enough on offense to win the rock fights.

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