NBA Roundtable

First Round: Eastern Conference

In 2011 NBA Playoffs, General NBA on April 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

The field is set (via RealGM)

The playoff match-ups in the East are now complete set and as follows:

– Chicago (1) vs. Indiana (8)
– Miami (2) vs. Philadelphia (7)
– Boston (3) vs. New York (6)
– Orlando (4) vs. Atlanta (5)

The top three seeds are vastly superior to their competition. I expect all three teams to win comfortably and quickly in four to five games.

The Orlando vs Atlanta series is the only competitive series in the first round out in the East.

  • Atlanta have done very well against Orlando in the regular by going with a bigger starting lineup. They replace Marvin Williams with Jason Collins.
  • Collins gives them a more effective defensive presence on Dwight Howard. This allows Atlanta to defend Dwight straight up which allows their perimeter defenders to stay at home on it’s shooters. The result has been that Orlando has struggled to create good shooting opportunities for it’s scorers on the perimeter.
  • It also creates a very difficult matchup problem for Orlando by putting Josh Smith at the three against Hedo Turkoglu. Smith has lit up Turkoglu all year long.
  • As a result, their regular season meetings have created low scoring affairs that have come down to the final minutes. Very close contests with little separating the sides. And that is exactly how I see this series playing out.

However,

  • Orlando should change that J.Smith vs Hedo matchup by switching Turkoglu onto Jason Collins. Allow Bass to take Smith and keep Dwight on Horford.
  • That would limit Atlanta’s new found offensive advantage and would allow Orlando to strangle the Hawks offensive schemes to the degree they did last season.
  • That defensive impact would greatly help lower the impact of Jason Collins entering the starting lineup + likely see them to series victory in five or six games.
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