In what was a very entertaining first round in the Eastern Conference, filled with early surprises, we are now left with four teams – the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. There were no upsets in the first round, as all the teams with home-court advantage won their matchups. Now with the second round underway, here are my predictions.

1. Boston Celtics vs. 8. Washington Wizards

John Wall versus Isaiah Thomas will be the main headline of this series. The two speedy, athletic point guards have been playing at an extremely high level this season, pushed their teams past the first round in six games each.

While Thomas is known for his incredible scoring ability, Wall has been dominating with his passing prowess.

While rebounding continues to be a major weakness for the Celtics, they successfully overcame it against the Chicago Bulls simply because they were more talented and had a deeper bench. Against the Wizards, it will be very different. While Washington isn’t an elite rebounding team like the Bulls, they have excellent team chemistry and a complete starting five. Their backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal are going to be a handful for Boston’s perimeter defenders, not to mention Wall’s basket attacks are going to give the Celtics plenty of fits since they don’t have a rim protector inside.

Boston will need major production from their bench players in this series.

That’s the biggest advantage they have since the Wizards bench isn’t as good. This series is ultimately going to come down to execution. The Wizards are phenomenal at executing due to Wall’s ability to play pick-and-roll with his big men. Meanwhile, down the stretch the Celtics typically count on Thomas to score in bunches.

The Wizards are tougher than their regular-season record indicated, so this will be a rough matchup for Boston.

Prediction: Wizards 4-2

2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 3. Toronto Raptors

When the Toronto Raptors acquired P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka at the deadline, this is exactly the playoff opponent they had in mind.

Raptors knew that they would cross paths with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which urged them to bring in some defensive pieces. Since the deadline, the Raptors had the third best defense in the league, which showed up in the final three games against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although the Raptors appear to be a tougher team, the Cavaliers still have too much talent. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James should have top-notch performances throughout the series. With the extra rest and time to prepare, the Cavaliers should be sharp from the start, and it helps that they have home-court advantage.

For Toronto to have a chance, they need consistent and efficient performances from their backcourt stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

The adjustment Dwane Casey made in the first round by downsizing worked against the Bucks, and it may work against the undersized Cavs, but they would have to be careful of Tristan Thompson’s ability to get offensive rebounds. They do not want to give Cleveland extra possessions. Ultimately, Cleveland's talent will overwhelm the Raptors again.

Prediction: Cavaliers 4-2

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