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The first-round match-ups are starting to become a little clearer. Here’s how the bottom of the Eastern Conference looks right now:

5) Miami 38-33

6) Sixers 37-33

7) Detroit 34-36

8) Chicago 34-38

So the Pistons have clearly fallen out of the 5-6 race, meaning the second seed will almost certainly face Detroit, while the third seed will get either the Heat or the Sixers. I haven’t thought deeply yet about which of these three times I’d most like to face in the opening round, and I think all three of them are capable of getting a game or two  from Boston and Orlando. As Jessica Camerato pointed out on WEEI today, the Pistons have eliminated the Magic from the playoffs the last two seasons and went 3-0 against Orlando this season. Interesting, but probably (maybe?) irrelevant come playoff time. 

If Orlando gets the second seed, they’ll likely have another shot at the Pistons. As for Philly-Miami, the two teams split four games this season, so if they finish tied, the fifth seed will be determined by whoever has the better record against the Eastern Conference. Right now, Miami is 23-20 against the East, and Philly is 21-19, so that’s still up in the air. (After that, it’s record against Eastern Conference playoff teams). 

So, C’s fans, which team–Miami, Philly or Detroit, do you feel most confident going up against?

**Update: My fellow CHer Brian Robb chastises me for prematurely eliminating the Bulls from 7th seed contention. Here’s Brian’s note: “I actually would be surprised if Chicago doesn’t move up to the 7th seed for the playoffs. They have 7 of their last 10 at home where they play very well (22-12) and have many of those games against sub .500 competition. Their road games are in Indiana, Toronto and Detroit. They hold a 2-1 edge over Detroit in season series with one matchup still to come against them in Auburn Hills on April 13th that could be huge in deciding the seeding. Meanwhile the Pistons are hurt, finish up with 7 of 12 on the road and still have games against the Lakers, Cavs (on road), twice against Philly, and in Miami besides their home matchup with Bulls. Not exactly an easy slate.”

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Zach Lowe

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  • Jordan

    I agree that each of these teams have the ability to win a few games in a series. Normally I would say the Sixers, I think their total lack of recent playoff success might hurt them. If Detroit doesn't get healthy soon though (regular season will be over pretty soon) I would rather face them. I think we would still have to be careful with them, but I can't see them winning a series as banged up as they are now.

  • EMF

    i like the match up with miami. Although d-wade is the type of player that could win a playoff series by himself. in the end i think boston d is too good to let one player beat them. So i like that matchup

    after that i would say philly

  • Personally, Philly scares the hell out of me, but I'd have to look at the numbers, etc. to see if they really should scare me as much as they do.

  • I second Zach on that, Philly is a team that puts up a good fight against the Celts generally. The Pistons healthy wouldn't be fun either although they scare me more if AI isn't playing for them