Sports Central Playoff Bracket: Top half of the East in the NBA as things stand
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Now that the NBA Playoffs bracket has been set in the East, it's time for Sports Central to do another prediction bracket.
We will be hoping to repeat the performance of the NFL Playoff predictions when our bracket had the Packers beating the Steelers in the Superbowl.
1. The Bulls over the Pacers.
The Bulls will be too strong for the Pacers. They have the MVP of the league this season in Derrick Rose who has been relentless with his performances throughout. Don't expect his intensity to slacken now that the brightest of bright lights are on.
Wild Card to watch:
Carlos Boozer. Boozer is yet to really explode offensively this season to the extent that he is capable.
Tyler Hansborough. Brother of Notre Dame's Ben, Tyler has been improving as the season has gone on. He will need to have monstrous games to give the Pacers any outside chance of outlasting the Bulls.
Bulls 4-0 Pacers.
2. The Magic over the Hawks.
Atlanta were destroyed in the playoffs last year by Dwight Howard. They have no inside presence that can matchup to the dominant center while their offense was too stagnant relying on Joe Johnson last season. This year they will need an all around team performance to beat Orlando because even though Al Horford has improved again this year. He is more imposing and together with Josh Smith could rebuff Howard but it is unlikely.
Wild Card to watch:
Gilbert Arenas. Arenas definitely has the talent but has struggled in his return from a year long absence. He was acquired from Washington during the season because of his unquestionable talent but his attitude has held him back to this point.
Jamaal Crawford. Crawford can take over a basketball game as the Hawks' sixth man. Should he have a great series, which he is definitely capable of, he could swing this the Hawks way. The Hawks will look to Crawford's outside scoring against the Magic because of Howard's defensive qualities inside.
Magic 4-1 Hawks.
3. The Magic over the Bulls.
This may not be a popular choice but the Bulls will make Derrick Rose the latest MVP not to win a title. The Bulls have one of the best young big defenders in the league in Joakim Noah but when you guard Dwight Howard you are almost guaranteed to get into foul trouble. The Bulls don't have a second big man to take on Howard while Noah is on the bench.
By all means the Bulls are the better team and they have the best player in this series, but Howard matches up well to put up big numbers. The Magic will ride Howard all the way to the Conference Finals.
Wild Card to watch:
Derrick Rose. Yes he may be the team's star but he is going to have to excel even further if the Bulls are to reach the Conference finals.
Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu can put up big numbers if need be. He is a dynamic offensive player that facilitates the offense around him perfectly. He was a key player during the team's last playoff run.
Magic 4-3 Bulls
The Bulls play the Magic tonight in the regular season for the fourth time.
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