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Monday April 17, 2006 3:21 pm

The NBA Playoff Participants Are Set: Eastern Conference Quick Look

Posted by Dennis Velasco Categories: Editorial, NBA, Playoffs,

NBA Eastern Conference

  1. Detroit Pistons - Former NBA champs are consistent performers thanks to the starting five who definitely play like they five separate fingers on the same hand.  Not only playing defense, but have upped their offense thanks to head coach Flip Saunders new offensive scheme.
  2. Miami Heat - Dwyane Wade is a monster player that is as smooth as silk taking it to the rack.  The role players that they brought in (Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey) need to step up and play their roles to the max for the Heat to go all the way.  And, of course, Shaquille O’Neal needs to stay healthy.
  3. New Jersey Nets - They have a great trio in Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter.  The first two have playoff pedigrees, but VC does not.  The X-Factor will be the emerging Nenad Krstic.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Let’s be honest, LeBron James carries this team.  And in my opinion IS the MVP.  If he’s gone, the Cavs will be too.  However, LBJ is still there and he should make some noise in the playoffs before his inexperienced team falters against one of the above teams.
  5. Washington Wizards - Gilbert Arenas can score from anywhere and upped his profile this season.  Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are excellent sidekicks that can turn it up and be the main man at any point during the game.
  6. Indiana Pacers - Thanks to Jermaine O’Neal being a warrior and Stephen Jackson for the most part keeping the team floating amongst the Ron Artest debacle, O’Neal injury woes (as well as Jamaal Tinsley), and general sense of gloom the Pacers make it in.  But how long will they stick around?
  7. Milwaukee Bucks - The underrated Michael Redd, along with the comeback play of T.J. Ford, consistency of rookie Andrew Bogut, and offseason acquisition of Brian Simmons, will lead the Bucks to a 1st round playoff exit.  They can steal one game, but that will be it against any of the East’s top teams.
  8. Chicago Bulls - This is a young team that can make this season’s playoff appearance a yearly thing for the next few years as Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Tyson Chandler have some excellent talent and will only get better taking their lumps in the playoffs.

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