Eastern Conference Playoff Preview 2022

Story posted April 16, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

The end of the NBA regular season has come to a close and for the Eastern Conference, it took all 82 games to decide the playoff seeding.

The standings were tight at the top with the Celtics, Bucks and 76ers all fighting for the No. 2 seed in the conference.

Here is how the seeding shaped up after the final game of the regular season.

The No. 1 seed Miami Heat will take on the Hawks, the Celtics capture the No. 2 seed and will clash with the Nets, the Bucks steal No. 3 and will battle the Bulls and the 76ers fall to the No. 4 seed to face off with the Raptors.

Let’s take a look at the biggest questions going into the first round.

Is Miami a legit title contender?

The Miami Heat captured the No. 1 seed in the East and surprised many people in doing so.

The Heat dealt with a lot of adversity this season, including numerous injuries to their top players Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry, as well as internal issues between coaches and players.

Even with its struggles, Miami was able to finish with a record of 53-29 and will take on either the Cavs or the Hawks.

Many fans and experts are curious to see how this team performs in the playoffs and questions whether they are legit or not.

The Heat have a deep roster and great bench pieces like Herro, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker and Victor Oladipo.

This depth will be a big advantage for the Heat, but their weakness might be the fact that they do not have a true closer on their team.

Miami lacks a go-to guy at the end of games, but the addition of Kyle Lowry this season might be enough to put them on top of the East in the playoffs.

Are the Bucks and 76ers the top dogs?

The Bucks and the 76ers secured the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, in the playoffs but many consider them to be the favorites to win the East.

The reigning champs, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, will face the Bulls who they beat four times this season.

Milwuakee looks solid once again and should be considered the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers on the other hand, made the move to get superstar James Harden in a trade and the duo of him and Joel Embiid have looked dangerous for other teams in the East.

The problem for the Sixers is that they lack depth on their bench and if Harden and Embiid aren’t on, they could be in trouble.

Embiid has been outstanding this season, winning the scoring title at 30.6 points per game and being an MVP candidate, but he’ll have to be even better for the Sixers to win the East.

How far into the playoffs will the Nets go?

The Nets have been a storyline for a majority of the NBA regular season.

They have dealt with the issues presented by Kyrie Irving and his vaccination status as well as trading for Ben Simmons who has yet to play.

Additionally, they dealt with injuries to key players such as Kevin Durant and they lost Joe Harris for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury.

However, they still managed to get a win over the Cavs to lock up the No. 7 seed.

The question for the Nets will be how deep can their run be if they have Durant and Irving healthy, and the possible return of Simmons.

Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at tfe5082@psu.edu