Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 4/24/12

With the NBA playoffs just a few days away, let’s discuss five big questions in the Eastern Conference.

5. Will Dwyane Wade’s dislocated finger hurt the Miami Heat?

A dislocated finger might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a nagging, frustrating injury. Wade dislocated his finger this past weekend and I think it could hamper his performance some. The good thing is that the injury is on his left hand (non-shooting hand) so it shouldn’t affect him much. He also has a few more days to rest up before the playoffs. But Wade will need to be playing at a high level if the Heat wants to win a title. So, no, Wade’s dislocated finger won’t hurt the Heat.

4. Are the New York Knicks the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference?

The Knicks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since Mike Woodson took over when Mike D’Antoni resigned. Carmelo Anthony has been on a roll and the Knicks are playing like most people thought they would before the season. Yes, Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire need to find their chemistry between themselves, but I think both will agree that when the game is on the line, the ball should be in Melo’s hands. Most people would agree that the Knicks would rather play the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but they might end up getting the Miami Heat instead. No matter who they play, the Knicks are the most dangerous team because they have a star player, three-point shooters, and they are a team that could pull off a first round upset.

3. Can the Boston Celtics make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?

The Celtics are looking at a first round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, a team that can easily be beaten. The Celtics play the best team defense in the league and should lock-up the Hawks. A potential second round matchup against the Chicago Bulls awaits them. Derrick Rose has been nowhere near 100 percent this season and Rajon Rondo is one of the best defenders in the league. This series is going to be a defensive battle. Low-scoring games with hard-nosed defense. The Celtics have the ability to beat the Bulls so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Celtics make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

2. Are the Indiana Pacers a dark-horse to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?

The Pacers are going to be taking on the Orlando Magic in the first round. Other years I would be taking Orlando, but since Orlando doesn’t have Dwight Howard and the team is falling apart around Stan Van Gundy. Indiana shouldn’t have much of a problem with the Magic in the first round. A potential second round series against the Miami Heat awaits them. This is where the fairy tale ends for the Pacers. Not having a star player (even though Danny Granger is very good) is going to hurt the Pacers. I don’t think they have enough firepower to bounce the Heat.

1. Who wins the Eastern Conference and advances to the NBA Finals?

I picked them in the beginning of the year. I have the Miami Heat playing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals with Miami winning. If the standings hold true, those two teams just need to win their two series and we will see these two teams matchup in the Conference Finals. In the end, it’s too much LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. I appreciate the fight, grit, and heart that Boston has shown this season, but this is the beginning of the end for the Celtics as we know it. Miami advances.

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