NBA PLAYOFFS: 76ers advance to face the Knicks & Eastern Conference playoffs preview | No Cap Room

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Jake Fischer and Fred Katz recap the 76ers and Bulls wins in the NBA Play-In Tournament last night and preview each of the Eastern Conference first round matchups.

On this episode of No Cap Room, Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Jake Fischer is joined by The Athletic’s Fred Katz, who covers the New York Knicks and the NBA at large.

The guys start with the big game last night, which saw the Philadelphia 76ers escape with a 1-point win over the Miami Heat after Joel Embiid and Nicolas Batum caught fire in the 4th quarter.

Jake was there, and talks about how seriously everyone around the Sixers wanted to win to avoid the Boston Celtics. Fred says that’s the right call, and explains that anything less than a conference championship will be a huge disappointment for the Celtics.

Embiid still doesn’t look like himself against the Heat, but he’ll probably benefit from facing the Knicks’ man-to-man defense instead of Miami’s zone defense. The biggest question coming out of this series is how the Knicks can keep their offense afloat when Jalen Brunson is on the bench.

The Bulls beat up on the Hawks last night, in a game that served as the announcement of Coby White’s arrival. Jake says he views White as an all-star caliber player now, and thinks the Bulls have a chance to beat Miami if Jimmy Butler’s knee keeps him out of Friday’s game.

The Hawks, who have the worst defense amongst non-tanking teams, have some big questions to answer this offseason. The biggest one being which of their two star guards (Trae Young & Dejounte Murray) should they trade over the offseason.

The Cavaliers might’ve angered the basketball gods by tanking the end of the season, and their reward will be an Orlando Magic team that can match them in terms of size and can beat them with physicality.

The Bucks, meanwhile, will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for at least the first part of their series against the Pacers. This series has some drama in it from the In-Season Tournament, but it’s also a terrible matchup for the Bucks’ defense. How far can Damian Lillard carry the team without Giannis?

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