Cleat Geeks

The Eastern Conference Shuffle

Butler & Hoiberg pic

So let’s be honest, did any of us have any thought the Chicago Bulls would be potentially missing the playoffs? Well at this point, it’s actually happening. Last time that we saw that happen was in 2008 between a few coaching changes from Scott Skiles to Jim Boylan. However that was an under .500 season with a 33-49 record. At 40 games even and only 2 games, and 2.5 contests behind Indiana, it’s virtually not happening. Indy has 3 road games left to finish the season. 2 in the Burroughs (Brooklyn & New York), and a season ending game in Milwaukee. All of those teams have losing records, and nothing to lose. At this point it sure isn’t likely they’ll lose these games, but it makes life a heck of a lot harder for Chicago. A season full of unprecedented injuries and finishing subpar in many offensive and defensive categories, this could be yet another team that on paper looks and sounds good, but failed to make anything positive happen.

Hawks vs Hornets pic

Meanwhile, in the middle of it all; Boston, Miami and Charlotte have their hands full. Of course being 4-6 is no biggie, but lets remember that playoff games are all match-up oriented. Because my playoff preview has not yet been published, i wont go into details yet until the final brackets are ready. Lets pick Charlotte vs. Atlanta. The Hawks won that series 3-1, but given the revitalization Atlanta underwent, the ball movement and valuable depth could give Charlotte a lot of problems. On the other hand, the Hornets are still a better 3 point shooting, and rebounding team than Atlanta. In many cases, it would come down to a few intangibles and exploited mismatches.

Toronto as well as they’ve played all season, will have a lot of eyes on them in hopes of not getting bounced in the 1st round as they have in years past. Whether it’s Detroit or Charlotte (because of the last few games), they will have their hands full. Season series or winners or not. Cleveland is not exempt either. With all of the media attention they’ve received, and chemistry issues they’ve shown since the beginning, it will take more than LeBron to propel this team to the Finals like last year. However, we can’t forget that one by one Love went down, followed by Irving. If Cleveland can follow up the way they are supposed to given the acquisitions they made, and health that has been steady all season, they could be scary for the East.

Matthew Buggs

NBA Writer/Play-by-Play/Radio Personality


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