THE post season is FINALLY here. After months of speculation, trades and media bullsh*t the real season is about to begin. Heroes and super teams are formed in the playoffs and with reputations on the line the 2017 playoffs are bound to be huge. Strap yourself in.

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#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Chicago Bulls

Why the Celtics will win…
THE Celtics deserve the one seed. Period. Forget their ‘shortcomings’ and ‘mishaps’ over the past monthish, their body of work over the entire season is impressive as hell. Led by MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas they play with a chip on their shoulder and the attitude to prove they deserve to be here. That is definitely worth something, don’t be surprised if they are fighting for their life in the East Finals.

Why the Bulls will win…
PUTTING it bluntly, they won’t. It is worth mentioning that they are 7-3 over their last 10, which includes impressive W’s over Cleveland and ahhhhh, no wait that’s it. Seven of them are averaging 10+ points in April led by All-Star Jimmy Butler’s 27.4 per game.

X-Factor – Bulls’ Ball Carriers
PART of their recent surge to the eight seed has had to do with the fact that they have two ball dominant guards. Since the return of Dwyane Wade the team is 2-1, yet with Rondo and Butler flanking him how many touches are there to go around? Three players who demand the ball in their hands and can’t shoot from deep isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Chicago BullsImage from csnne.com

Prediction – CELTICS IN 4
LOOK, take nothing away from Chitown, they deserve the last playoff spot. After elevating their game to another level in the past fortnight I question whether they have another gear. It’s only fair to give them a series L, even if one game garners TNT attention.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #7 Indiana Pacers

Why the Cavs will win…
LEBRON James. Let’s move on.

Why the Pacers will win…
GEORGE’S per month April stats are bonkers. The star forward is putting up a tick under 33 points a night (best in the league) while going 5-1. Forget his teammates momentarily, if the Pacers stand any chance they need George to average 40. Ok 45.

NBA All-Star Game 2016Image from slamonline.com

X-Factor – Pacers 2 Guards
THE Lance Stephenson/Monta Ellis duo needs to fire for Indiana if they want success. Stephenson is putting up seven points shooting 40% since he joined the team and Ellis is going for five a night shooting 38% over the same span.

Prediction – CAVS IN 5
NO disrespect to PG and the Pacers, but the Cavs are at another level. The Pacers have won five in a row and the Cavs have lost four in a row rolling into the series, but that means little now. LeBron has made six straight NBA finals, so don’t expect him to bow out in round one without a bloodbath. Paul George may win a pair of games off his own back, however, thats where the road stops for Indiana.

#3 Toronto Raptors vs #6 Milwaukee Bucks

Why the Raptors will win…
I may believe that the Raps are the best team in the NBA at the moment. Why? The culture and the community embrace the franchise in ways we have never seen. The Raps straight up get it. Plus adding P.J. Tucker is HUGE for them.

Why the Bucks will win…
GIANNIS Anteto-f*cking-kounmpo. Enough said. I may have the last n and m around the wrong way, let’s be honest everyone struggle to spell his name. The ‘Greek Freak’ is on an absolute tear having a breakout season leading the Bucks to their best record in seven years.

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview 3Image from thompsoncitizen.net

X-Factor – Matthew Dellavedova
LAST year Delly got payed the Bucks after helping the Cavs win the title. The Aussie floor general provides tough, gritty defense, which the Bucks will need to slow All-Star Kyle Lowry from the Raptors. If Dellavedova can ‘shut down’ Lowry and contribute on the offensive end for Milwaukee that can swing some games.

Prediction – RAPTORS IN 6
I had high hopes for this series, but there is only so much that Giannis can do on his own. The future is bright for the Bucks and they should make it a series worth watching, until Toronto flexes their muscle and advances.

#4 Washington Wizards vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Why the Wizards will win…
JOHN Wall has done his best Chris Paul impersonation this season, putting up 20 and 10 with regularity. His play has been a large reason the once 2-8 Wizards were one of the hottest teams early in 2017.

Why the Hawks will win…
GENERATION next appears ready to take over in ATL. After losing Teague and Horford in free agency then shipping Korver away, guys like Schroder, Hardaway Jr and Taurean Prince have stepped up and are ready to prove they are up to the challenge.

X-Factor – Dwight Howard

THE athleticism of Dwight isn’t what it once was, that being said he can still contribute in a big way. Atlanta’s center has had a solid year and is matched up with Marcin Gortat, by no means an easy beat. If Howard can control the paint and beast on the boards, taking away Gortat’s main advantage then he can help the Hawks upset the Wizards.

Prediction – WIZARDS IN 6

IN Jan/Feb I was buying as much Wizards stock as possible. They seriously looked like they could take their talents to the top of the East before semi stumbling in the last month of the season. Both of these teams are trending in different directions and it will show over a seven game span.

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