The NBA playoffs have started, and in the East at least, it was a brutal start for some teams with high hopes. The top seeded Chicago Bulls won their game over the listless 76′ers but saw their title hopes take a massive blow when their star point guard and reigning MVP Derrick Rose went down with an injury. And the Miami Heat exposed the continuing dysfunction hurting the Knicks by lighting them up and holding them to 67 points. To add injury to insult, New York Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert, who has earned a lot of minutes, tore his ACL and will be out for eight months. So after just one game the path out of the East goes thru Miami.
The injury to Derrick Rose appears to be an ACL tear, meaning he is done for the playoffs. Chicago is supremely well coached and they have the size along the frontline that could give Miami trouble, but they will be missing their best player, and that is a serious blow.
Another team that entered the playoffs on a roll and stumbled in game 1 was the Indiana Pacers. After a strong closing to the season, they were looking like a potential dark horse, with a lot of talent and ability to play offense and defense. But the playoffs are a different beast, and they were reminded of that the hard way by giving up home court advantage in game 1. And they lost to an Orlando team that is without it’s best player and many people were writing them off. Well, the Pacers will probably get by this series, but chalk it up to them learning, they cannot stop Miami.
So that leaves us the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks as the teams that can offer resistance to Miami in the East. Boston is on old legs, and though they must think they have a chance they came up short against the Heat last year.
Atlanta is intriguing, as they have played well without Al Horford, who many feel is their best player. The reason they are dangerous is that the core of the team has been to the playoffs second round several times and with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson they have good athleticism in the matchups with Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.
But if you had to bet, the HEAT are coming out of the East again.