Second Round Playoffs
Eastern Conference Semi Finals
Toronto Raptors (1) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (4)
Regular season record: Cavaliers 2 – 1 Raptors
A rematch of the Eastern conference semi-finals of last season. Only this time, the Cavaliers are a different team and the Raptors are a team with new organizational culture. During the regular season, Toronto experienced narrow defeats. Their victory was a resounding thrashing of the Cavaliers.
While it’s obvious that a LeBron James led side will be intimidating in the playoffs, they are not invincible. The Cavaliers this year are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. The lack of defence from the Cavaliers can be their Achilles heel that Toronto can exploit.
This match up will be the most anticipated match up of the playoffs in the East. Expect the Raptors to take it in 7 games.
Verdict: Toronto 4 – 3 Cleveland
Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs Milwaukee Bucks (7)
Regular Season record: 2 – 2
Two young squads going head to head in the Eastern Conference Semis. The Bucks and 76ers both have talented youngsters who will form the core of their franchises for the future. Bucks, are relatively more expierenced in the playoffs. Arguably, the 76ers have a better bench.
The success for 76ers rests upon the full return of Embiid. He will have to be fully fit by the time the team face the Bucks. They need a big man who can be a defensive giant against Giannis. Ben Simmons, Fultz, Reddick will be expected to pull their weight as well.
For the Bucks, any success depends on Giannis. Not only can he score and rebound, he can provide for his teammates. If he can free up Bledsoe, Bogdan or Parker, the team can have a chance. A major weakness of the Bucks is their below average 3-point shooting.
It will be a tight contest, with the 76ers taking the series
Verdict: 76ers 4 – 2 Bucks