After predicting the outcome of the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers matchups, let's take a look at the teams that are sitting on third and fourth seed in the #Eastern Conference playoff picture- the Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards. The Raptors will play the Milwaukee Bucks and that should be a very interesting matchup. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards are facing the Atlanta Hawks.
Let's see what should we expect in both of that series and which teams have a better chance to enter the conference semifinals..
Toronto Raptors - Milwaukee Bucks
The Raptors finished second in the Atlantic Divison for the first time in 4 years, while the Boston Celtics took the first spot. But they are again in the top 4 in the East and will have a home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The most important thing for the Raptors is that their "dynamic duo" is healthy and ready to go. Kyle Lowry has returned in the last few games of the regular season and Demar DeRozan had one of the best regular seasons of his career, with the average of 27.3 points per game. Also, the Raptors improved their game defensively, adding Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker to the roster. The Milwaukee Bucks entered the playoffs despite missing their first scoring option Jabari Parker. But Kris Middleton has returned and he needs to fill that offensive hole with some big scoring performances. Giannis Antetokounmpo became a great leader and a franchise player, so the Bucks are significantly depending on him. They are athletic, big, quick and young, so it won't be an easy task for Toronto.
Also, Jason Kidd proved himself to be a good coach, which can be crucial for this series. The first game is on Saturday, at 5:30 pm.
Prediction: Toronto Raptors - Milwaukee Bucks 4-2
Washington Wizards - Atlanta Hawks
The Wizards almost finished in the third spot, but now it seems like this situation is more comfortable for them. They got the Hawks, which is a good matchup for them and they will also avoid the Cavaliers in the semifinals, if they pass Atlanta. The Washington Wizards have a high scoring duo - #John Wall and Bradley Beal, so it will be very difficult for Atlanta to guard them. Atlanta's big duo Paul Millsap and #Dwight Howard don't seem compatible, but they are the key for the Hawks. If Dwight Howard can play at his best, the Hawks will have their chance. If not, this will be an easy one for the Wizards. Dennis Schroder is not the kind of a superstar that can lead the team, at least not yet, so his matchup with John Wall could be a disaster for Atlanta. Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. have the ability to score, but the Hawks need more players to step up if they want to play in the conference semifinals. The bench could also play a big role in this series. The first game is on Sunday, at 1:00 pm.
Prediction: Washington Wizards - Atlanta Hawks 4-3