With three series in the East playing their second games tonight, which opening round series in the East has the greatest chance for an upset? While still early in the NBA playoffs, a few surprises have taken place in the East.
The least likely series in the East to provide fans with an upset would have to be the Miami Charlotte series. Despite getting out to an early first quarter lead in game 1, the Bobcats eventually fell behind by double digits as the Heat took game one 99-88.
Things will only get tougher for the Bobcats moving forward, as big man Al Jefferson suffered a foot injury in the loss. Jefferson is expected to play in game 2 on Wednesday night, but he has been using a walking boot for the past few days, and it is unknown how limiting the injury will be.
Jefferson has proven to be an offensive force for the Bobcats this season, and was one of five NBA players to average 20 points and 10 rebounds during the regular season. Without big Al Jefferson at 100 percent, it will be difficult for the Bobcats to upset the two-time defending champs.
While a fourth and fifth seed match up can hardly be considered an upset in the NBA playoffs, the Wizards taking game one from the Bulls on their home court was a bit of a surprise. John Wall and the Wizards are a young team with little playoff experience, whereas Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls are a heavily playoff-tested squad.
While Chicago is one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Wizards took advantage of a few match ups in game one. Nene led the way for the Wizards with 24 points and eight rebounds. After receiving defensive player of the year honors, expect Joakim Noah to come into game two with a defensive intensity that will ensure he is not outdone by Nene for a second consecutive game.
With Derrick Rose not in the line up, John Wall and the Wizards hold the advantage in the point guard position. If Wall has a solid showing in the series, the Wizards have a decent chance of taking down the battle tested Bulls and perhaps even a magical run to the Eastern Conference finals.
The three-six match up in the East in this year’s NBA playoffs is a particularly interesting one. In the Raptors Nets series it is actually the three seed that is looked at as the under dog. The Nets hold an obvious edge over the Raptors in playoff experience, and after a road victory in game one, the Nets are the favorites to win this series.
The Raptors earned the third seed in the East for a reason. They played one of their worst games in weeks in game one, and became victim to the playoff pressure and hype. DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross both had poor playoff debuts by their standards, they will be looking to put on a show at home in game two. If the Raptors overcome their NBA playoff jitters and manage their turnovers, they still have a good shot at “upsetting” the lower seeded Nets.
As surprising as it is to say, the biggest chance for an upset in the first round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs comes in the one-eight match up between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks. Coming into the NBA playoffs nearly everyone penciled in the Pacers and the Heat for a powerhouse match up in the Eastern Conference finals.
However, after the Pacers game one performance against the Hawks, it appears the Pacers regular season struggles have carried into the NBA playoffs. Heading into game two the Pacers, who do not have a true point guard in their rotation, will need to come up with a defensive formula to stop Jeff Teague. Teague exposed the Pacers for 28 points in game one, while adding five assists.
The Pacers have been in a slump for weeks now, and if they do not find their way out of it soon, they may find themselves on the wrong end of a first round upset in the NBA playoffs. Although it is still early on in this year’s NBA playoffs, there are plenty of stories developing, and the Eastern Conference may not play out exactly as many predicted.
Commentary By Eric Kummel