Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Coin Toss: Beasts of the East

Welcome to The Coin Toss, where I make some bold and unlikely predictions about your favorite professional sports.

Last week, I predicted two first-round NBA playoff match-ups from the Western Conference. I had the Jazz advancing over the Clippers and the Rockets winning their series against the Thunder. Still waiting on the results for those picks, but they're looking good!

So I've picked the Western Conference, but how about the match-ups out east? Let's make some predictions...

No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

Prediction: Raptors in 7

Disclaimer: I'm writing this before game two, so as of now, the Bucks have beaten the Raptors in game one and stolen home court advantage from Toronto. I like the Bucks, and they proved themselves to be competitive in their game one win. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo can only carry his team so far. The Raptors are the better team, and I think they'll take the series in the end -- not that the Bucks are a fluke; they have a lot of talent. The Raptors losing game one was just part of the norm for them. As a franchise, Toronto is 1-11 in playoff series game ones. It is 0-9 in first-round game ones. It just needed to get that loss out of the way and it should be able to get back on track. Again, I don't know who won game two. The Raptors could be tied 1-1 in the series or down 0-2. Either way, I think they'll show that they're the better team in this series and advance in the end. After all, Toronto was a top-10 scoring team this season with 106.6 PPG, whereas Milwaukee was 20th in the league in that category. The Raptors will also be top-10 in defensive efficiency and sixth overall in opponent shooting percentage. The Raptors are a better team on both sides of the ball than the Bucks. They're an elite team, and they should play like one if they want to win this series. I think they will.

No. 4 Washington Wizards vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

Prediction: Wizards in 5

This series plays its second game tonight (Wednesday), and the Wizards are coming off of a dominant performance in game one. Washington won the game 114-107, led by a strong effort from star point guard John Wall. Wall scored 32 points on 12-24 shooting and added 14 assists to his stat line. The Wizards also held Paul Millsap, who is arguably the Hawks' best player, to 19 points and a mere two rebounds. It's clear that the Wizards are the better team in this series. They were in contention for a higher seed than four, even, and no one was sure what direction this Hawks team was going. They were tabbed as a seller at the trade deadline but settled into a mid-tier team in the East. I don't think the Hawks are necessarily a bad team; they do have some very strong players in Millsap, Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard. However, the Hawks are not an elite team, and the Wizards are one of the top teams in the East. Washington is the obvious choice to win this series, and I have it only losing once, taking the series in five games.