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NBA’s East bracket all set

While we don’t know who will be playing who in the first round of the NBA’s playoffs, we now know who is in the dance for the Eastern Conference.

As for seeding, the Cleveland Cavaliers have earned home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs with a quality 56 wins to this juncture. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors will be the second seed, cruising through the rancid Atlanta Division to get second billing. Cleveland and Toronto will be playing the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons, although it remains to be seen which team gets which.

The Atlanta Hawks are currently in the No. 3 slot with a 48-32 record. Atlanta has a one-game lead on the Boston Celtics, who have been led by head coach Brad Stevens and guard Isaiah Thomas. The Miami Heat have the same record as Boston but lose the tiebreaker as things stand, so they are the fifth seed while the Charlotte Hornets are a game off that pace in sixth.

It is likely that Atlanta will face Charlotte in the first round with the winner playing Toronto in the conference semifinals. This would leave Miami and Boston to play each other in the 4-5 series, with that winner advancing to take on LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cavaliers.

While it would be fun to talk about the crazy potential of upsets in the East, they are not very likely. Cleveland is clearly the best team in the conference with the trio of aforementioned players. The Cavaliers are not going to lose a series to Indiana or Detroit – perhaps let alone a single game – while the Raptors will quickly dispose of the other. The 3-6 and 4-5 series could go either way, although it is probable that Atlanta and Miami move on in their respective series.

Once more, look for the Cavaliers and Raptors to beat those foes in the semis and find themselves playing each other for the right to get beat in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors. Barring some kind of horrific injury to Golden State, it will be in the Finals and looking to defend its crown with a heavily-favored squad. Cleveland will probably be the challenger for the second straight year – and get pounded for the second straight year.

Unfortunately, there is just not a ton of drama in this year’s playoffs. The East provided virtually none unless we get a massive upset of Cleveland. Frankly, we should all be rooting for the Cavaliers, because any other team coming out of the East to face the Warriors might just wave the white flag during warmups of Game 1.

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