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3 Best Eastern Conference NBA Basketball Events To Watch This Week

April 15, 2014

The coming week in American professional sports will be filled with hockey in the middle of the week, but when Saturday and Sunday arrive, the NBA playoffs will get underway in 2014, beginning the chase for the Lawrence F. O’Brien Trophy. The pressure is about to escalate.

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 1:

Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers (Saturday or Sunday)

This game in Indianapolis will be a rematch of Atlanta’s surprising 107-88 win over the Pacers a few weeks ago. At that time, Indiana seemed to be dead in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Yet, the Miami Heat stumbled multiple times in the next few days, allowing the Pacers to get the top seed. (This is not official, but it is nearly certain after the events of the past weekend.) Barring a miracle, Indiana will face an Atlanta team that somehow made the playoffs with a record well below .500. The Hawks are thin without big man Al Horford. Bet this series NOW

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 1:

Washington/Charlotte @ Miami Heat (Saturday or Sunday)

It is more likely that Charlotte, and not Washington, will be the number seven seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and that seventh seed will face second-seeded Miami (barring a remarkable set of developments in the next few days). The Heat have paced themselves through the regular season, just trying to be fresh and healthy for the postseason. Dwyane Wade’s health will be an issue deeper in the playoffs, but it shouldn’t matter in the first round. Yet, if Charlotte can steal a road win early in the series, Miami might have to work for a six-game series win, which could affect later playoff rounds. Bet this series NOW

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 1:

Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto/Chicago (Saturday or Sunday)

This is the Eastern Conference series that is likely to be one worth watching. Most of the East won’t be too competitive, but this will be the exception. Brooklyn will lack home-court advantage against either Toronto or Chicago. If Toronto can win two games or win once and then receive a loss from Chicago, the Raptors will be the third seed in the East and face Washington (maybe Charlotte) in the first round. The Bulls would then face Brooklyn in a rematch of last year’s first-round series. If Chicago wins twice and Toronto loses once, the Bulls would become the third seed and Toronto would have to host Brooklyn. The Nets probably want to face Toronto rather than Chicago because the Raptors lack playoff experience. Bet this series NOW

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