We’re about midway through round one of the 2017 NBA playoffs with each series having gone three games. There have certainly been some surprises as the first seed Boston Celtics have struggled against the eighth seed Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers have managed to get their act together and have taken three straight in their series with Indiana.
Here’s a look at the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round and our projections for how each series will end. Round two starts Monday, May 1.
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Chicago Bulls
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises thus far in the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round was the fact that the Bulls beat the Celtics in the first two games at the Boston Garden. The first win was close, with Chicago winning 106-102. In the second game, the Bulls dominated the Celtics, pulling away early and never really looking back. That final was 111-97.
But the third game was different. In Chicago, Boston dominated the Bulls, beating them 104-87. The major difference was the loss of Rajon Rondo, the guy who runs Chicago’s offense. Rondo is out for the duration and that may have changed everything in this series. Chicago leads the series two games to one. The next game will be played in Chicago on Sunday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m.
(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (7) Indiana Pacers
The Cavaliers have managed to win three straight against the Pacers and are up 3-0. The first win was not easy at all as the Cavs managed to barely escape with the win. The final was 108-107. Cleveland went into the final quarter ahead by eight and then saw the Pacers outscore them 24-17. The second game the Cavs put in another bad final quarter by Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, Kevin Love added 27, LeBron James had 25, all of which helped them overcome the Pacers 117-111.
In game three, the Cavaliers were down by 26 points in the third and managed a massive comeback led by James. He scored 41 points and had a triple-double to lead his team to a 119-115 victory. This had to have broken the Pacers. Game four is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Indiana may take this one, but don’t expect them to win anymore in this series.
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks
Of the four series in 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round, the one between the Raptors and Bucks has offered the most give-and-take, as these teams alternate wins and losses. They started in Toronto where Milwaukee took down the Raptors 97-83. In that game for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo put in 28 points and rookie Malcolm Brogdon scored 16. But game two was a different story, as Toronto’s Kyle Lowry scored 22 and the Raptors won 106-100.
In game three, the teams travelled to Milwaukee where the Bucks managed an easy 104-77 win. It was a real home court win in which the Bucks dominated from start to finish. But in what was a tight game from the very beginning, the Raptors beat Milwaukee on their home court 87-76. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan was key, scoring 33 points, grabbing nine rebounds and making five assists. The two teams meet again on Monday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. in Toronto.
(4) Washington Wizard vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks
This series has the Wizards up two games to one. Thus far, the home team has won every game. Washington took games one and two, beating the Hawks 114-107 and 109-101. In Atlanta, it was the Hawks 116 and the Wizards 98. In that game for Atlanta, Paul Millsap scored 29 points and Dennis Schroder had 27 as they led by 18 at the end of the first-half and walk away with the win in the second. The next game will be played on Monday in Atlanta at 8:00 p.m. If the pattern continues, the Hawks will win that one and tie the series at two apiece.
2017 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round
In the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round, look for Boston to continue their comeback and take the Bulls. The Cavs will win their series four games to one. The other two series have the potential to go the full seven games.