The Eastern Conference is often viewed as the underachieving, slightly deviant stepchild to its western step-parent, and perhaps rightfully so considering how the two parties compare. Entering the season, only two teams were given a realistic chance at competing for a title, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, and that view only slightly altered over the course of the season, with the surprising Atlanta Hawks emerging into the mix.
Two teams, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, qualified for the playoffs with records below .500, and the Milwaukee Bucks barely cracked that mark as the sixth seed. The east is top-heavy and not many expect many tightly contested series in the first round.
That’s why the games are actually played. We’ve seen surprises, disappointments, injuries and plenty of volatility prior in postseasons past.
So, how does each team stack up in their respective playoff series?