Sports Central Playoff Bracket: Bottom half of the Eastern Conference

1. The Celtics over the Knicks
The New York Knicks may have got the better piece of their respective deadline day deals but the Celtics will advance in this one. The Celtics don't look good approaching the playoffs as they still don't haven't dealt with the loss of Kendrick Perkins. Nonetheless the Knicks don't have the depth or defensive quality to overcome the Boston side.

Wild Card to watch:
Rajon Rondo: Rondo needs to return to the form he had before the all star break. He should have the opportunity to do that in this series.
Carmelo Anthony: Defensively Anthony needs to step up because Paul Pierce could destroy this team if he plays his usual lazy defense.

Celtics 4-2 Knicks.

2. The Heat over the 76ers
Doug Collins has worked wonders in Philadelphia but the 76ers give me the impression that they are just happy to be in the playoffs. The Heat will look to finish this series off quickly to rest ahead of the match up with Boston. They have already had three comfortable double digit victories against the 76ers already this year.

Wild Card to watch:
Jrue Holliday: Holliday may be the star of this team already but he needs to take advantage of the favorable matchup he will have against Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby.
Chris Bosh: Bosh needs to carry the load in some of these playoff games. The earlier games against weaker teams are perfect opportunities for him to relieve the pressure on Wade and James.

Heat 4-0 76ers.

The Heat over the Celtics
Danny Ainge will be the villain in Boston. The Celtics' GM was the architect of the Perkins trade that has ruined the team's chemistry. The Heat should debut the pick and roll offense of Dwayne Wade and Lebron James that is going to be impossible for any team to defend.

Wild Card to watch:
Shaquille O Neal: A fully healthy shaq could light up Juwan Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas or any other inside defender that the Heat could provide. Pity that you can't rely on his health.
Lebron James: James will have to match up to Rondo in order to slow him down which puts a lot of the defensive responsibility on his shoulders.

Heat 4-2 Celtics.

Western preview coming soon!

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