The first round of the playoffs was fairly easy for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics as they faced inferior opponents and lost no more than one game in their series. The second round however will be a daunting task for both of these Eastern conference heavyweights as they will face their toughest test of the season when they go head-to-head.
Heading into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, there are only two teams that were thought to be able to make it all away to the NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic have had a repeat performance of their great season last year and were thought to give any opponent in the playoffs run for their money, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are the team that everyone believes can beat anybody in a seven-game series.
Last year the Cleveland Cavaliers absolutely dominated in the regular season and everyone was already crowding them as NBA champs before the playoffs even began, but Dwight Howard and company had other intentions as they came into the Eastern Conference finals full confidence and ready to advance to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, this exactly what happened as they went home early in the postseason was an absolute disappointment as they were dominated by the Orlando Magic.
As a way of trying to be able to contain Dwight Howard in the paint if they end up facing them in the Eastern Conference finals this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers went out and traded for future Hall of fame center Shaquille O’Neal. Out of all the centers in the league, Shaq is the only one that can really go up against Howard and come out on top or limit his ability to take over the game.
Even though a Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic rematch in the Eastern Conference finals may happen, LeBron James and company have to deal with the Boston Celtics first who are looking a lot like a team that won the title in 2009.
A couple games during the series with the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics look old and flawed just like many people thought they would be coming into the playoffs. Fortunately though, Paul Pierce and company were able to turn things around and ultimately looked like a title contending team once again with physical play and lockdown defense.
From here on out is no way the Boston Celtics will be able to dispute the fact that they are an aging team with only a few chances last to contend for a title. Despite this being the is truth, the Celtics are a passionate team that never give up and I believe they will give two-time MVP LeBron James and company a run for their money in the second round series.
Ultimately, the Cleveland Cavaliers will most likely advance to the Eastern Conference finals, but I do believe the Boston Celtics have what it takes to beat the Cavs in a seven-game series if they can remain dominant on their home floor.
One key to this series will be the health of LeBron James who sustained an elbow injury against the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Reportedly, it is a bone bruise on his elbow and LeBron will be good to go for game one, but it is his right arm which is his shooting arm and could affect his shot and overall game.
If LeBron does struggle with this injury, I believe the scales will tilt severely in the Boston Celtics favor, but if LeBron can get back to form I see them advancing and six games.
Series Prediction: 4-3 Cleveland Cavaliers