Previewing the rest of the NBA playoff series now that the play-in dust has settled

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
4 of 4

2 Knicks vs 7 76ers

The way this played out, I think you can make a case given current health statuses, that these are the two best teams in the East after the Celtics. But how healthy are these teams really? Joel Embiid came back for the stretch run and has had some nice moments, but he certainly doesn’t look like the guy who was leading the MVP race earlier this season.

If the Sixers have a chance in this series, they’ll need him to be pretty close though. Tyrese Maxey has had a great year, but the focus and defensive attention on him will be ramped up by Tom Thibodeau and company in a big way.

But the Knicks have their own offensive issues without Julius Randle. They’ll need Jalen Brunson to keep carrying them and everyone else will need to make their shots and do what they can to pitch in while locking up on defense.

I think this series is going to be a rock fight with both teams slowing things down and trying to play through their stars. We’ve got two good coaches who like to stick with their guys for heavy minutes. This will be a real drag and these games likely won’t be for the faint of heart. Given the current status of each team, I think that slightly favors New York and I like them to prevail in dramatic fashion.

The pick: Knicks in 7