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The East’s Playoff Teams Are Known, But Not Their Positions

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/4/2013 7:16:34 PM

The Eastern Conference’s eight playoff teams have firmly secured their spots. Now comes the process of figuring out where they’ll land in the postseason bracket. There’s a lot at stake.

Game 1: Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks – Friday, April 5

In online poker games that occur on a computer, it’s not possible to make eye contact with an opposing player. In the NBA, it’s very different. If you look into the eyes of each member of the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks, you will see two different moods, two different attitudes to the sport at this late stage of the regular season. The Bucks want to get out of the No. 8 spot in the East so that they won’t have to play the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, but they just can’t manage to do much of anything. The Bucks just lost at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves while the Boston Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. These two events have pushed the Bucks 2.5 games behind Boston in the chase for the No. 7 seed and the avoidance of Miami in the opening round. The Bucks cannot feel particularly optimistic about their chances in this contest. The fact that it’s on the road won’t help Milwaukee, either.

The other thing to realize is that New York, in marked contrast to Milwaukee, is playing with vibrant joy once again. The Knicks have won 10 games in a row, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 90 points combined in his last two games. He threw down 50 against Miami and then 40 against Atlanta the following night. The Knicks are breathing confidence once again, and that means they should flourish against a clearly inferior foe.

NBA Betting Pick: New York

Game 2: Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks - Friday, April 5

Legal online sports betting experts know that Atlanta is not a particularly reliable team, but the Hawks are getting an underequipped Philadelphia squad at home in this contest. Atlanta wants to get into the 4-versus-5 seed matchup in the first round of the NBA playoffs, because the Brooklyn Nets – the likely No. 4 seed – would offer a much more favorable pairing than third-seeded Indiana or, to pose an alternative scenario, second-seeded New York. Atlanta doesn’t want to fall to the sixth or seventh slot, and that little bit of incentive should give the Hawks enough energy to push past the 76ers on Friday night in Georgia.

NBA Betting Pick: Atlanta

Game 3: Miami Heat @ Charlotte Bobcats - Friday, April 5

Even the ranks of online football betting students who simply can’t be bothered to do much of any analysis on the NBA would say that Miami rates as a very strong favorite in this game. The thing to realize about the Heat is that they’ve been playing all of this week without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Mario Chalmers, who are officially listed as being injured but who are essentially being rested for the playoffs. Miami’s backups haven’t done that poorly. They won at San Antonio and have performed with great energy. The Heat’s new lineup should still be able to thump Charlotte.

NBA Betting Pick: Miami

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