NBA Play-Offs: Eastern Conference Contenders
With the NBA play-offs still a few months away, it is fair to say that the Eastern Conference is shaping up along the lines of most pre-season predictions.
Milwaukee Bucks have been the standout team during the early part of the season, reeling off a long-winning streak during the first third of the campaign.
That run of form has seen their NBA odds slashed to win the championship and they are fully expected to make their mark during post-season play.
However, there are a host of other teams who will fancy their chances of being the Eastern Conference’s representatives in the NBA Finals. Read on as we take a closer look at four of the main contenders.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, the Bucks have looked like one of the best basketball teams in the league this season.
The have repeatedly racked up wide margin wins and appear to have the squad to maintain their run of form over the coming months.
Khris Middleton has provided ample support in the scoring charts, although he will hope to avoid picking up any further injuries as the season progresses.
The Bucks reached the Conference Finals last term and it would be a brave move to back against them going one better this time around.
The Celtics put their trust in youth this season and have been rewarded with some impressive displays to raise hopes they could go deep in the play-offs.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have been in impressive scoring form, while Gordon Hayward’s return from injury further strengthens their options.
Brad Wannamaker and Marcus Smart have also stepped up to the plate during the current season, giving the Celtics one of the most potent attacking units around.
If the Celtics can avoid injuries to their main performers, they could be a big threat by the time the play-offs start.
Having reached the Conference Semi-Finals last season, the 76ers were a popular pick with many pundits to go further this term.
They have forced their way into the mix during the current campaign, although it’s fair to say they often haven’t played as well as they can.
Despite struggling to find their very best form, the likes of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris have kept the scoreboard ticking over when it matters.
Philadelphia’s solid defence gives them a great platform to work from and when things click into place further forward the 76ers will be dangerous opponents.
The loss of Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers was supposedly a devastating blow to the Raptors’ hopes of winning back-to-back NBA championships.
The reality has proved to be somewhat different, with the likes of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet filling the void.
Siakam in particular has impressed and he has the ability to lead this team to more success this season.
Head coach Nick Nurse has built a well-drilled team in Toronto and they are strongly fancied to have a huge impact in the play-offs.