NBA Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

Posted by Aaron . on May 12, 2016 in

In the NBA’s Eastern Conference, one of the semifinals ended after just four games, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have now upped their postseason win streak against the Atlanta Hawks to eleven games by unceremoniously sweeping them out of the playoffs. The other semifinal is headed to at least a sixth game, as the Toronto Raptors head down to Miami with a 3-2 lead and a chance to end the series on South Beach. Let’s take a look at some predictions for the Raptors and Heat in this series and then between the winner of that series and the Cavaliers. Find out more about the NBA betting lines here.

NBA Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

 

 

Toronto will beat Miami.

Even when Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan couldn’t buy a bucket in Game 4 (they combined to go a frigid 6 for 28 in that contest), the Raptors still managed to send the game to overtime. That’s kind of like driving a car down the street without gasoline in the engine, but the Raptors still almost won. When the two of them shot well in Game 5, the Raptors had control of the game throughout (despite a brief scare in the fourth by the Heat). So with two chances to knock out the Heat, I like the Raptors to take care of business. The Heat had a real wreckin’ machine in Hassan Whiteside on the inside, but his knee issues are keeping him off the floor for now.

Toronto will beat Cleveland, but Miami won’t.

If the Heat somehow get two wins against the Raptors, they will have nothing in the tank for the three-headed monster known as the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, the Heat have Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng, but that’s no match for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. A seven-game series will exhaust an elderly Heat roster, while the Cavs are younger and have been resting since Game 4 of their semifinal.

The Raptors, though, represent an entirely different sort of challenge. They have the best defense in the Eastern Conference — even better than Cleveland’s. They can apply the sort of pressure to the Cavs that no one else in the East can muster. Detroit tried, on occasion, but in the Pistons’ wins over Cleveland during the regular season, Cleveland was always missing one of the big three (or was resting one of them). LeBron James has shown that pressure can get to him and overwhelm him on these biggest stages, and I think Toronto’s defense can frustrate him in ways that no other team’s defense (maybe even Golden State’s) can. So I’m predicting that Toronto will beat Miami and then emerge from the conference finals to take on the Western Conference champion.