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The NBA Playoffs: Where Amazing Really Does Happen

The NBA playoffs have treated fans to an incredible opening weekend.  Without a doubt, this was some of the best and most interesting basketball I have watched in a while.  L.A. and San Antonio stumbled out west to the David West-less Hornets and Rudy Gay-less Grizzlies respectively.  Rough way to start out the series.  The Lakers will be fine and I suspect that they will pummel the Hornets in game two.  San Antonio, on the other hand, has turned this into an interesting series.  I suspected that if they could get through Memphis in game one without Ginobli, then they would cruise to the second round with no problem.  But Memphis came in, stole home court from the Spurs and absolutely put the number one seed in the west on their heels.  I stand by my pick of the Spurs to win this series, but it will be a hell of a lot closer than before.

Out East, Chicago and Miami both suffered scares in their opening round games, but fought back and took the first two games of each series.  And while Miami rolled in their second game against Philly, Chicago founds themselves struggling again with Indiana.  It took another out-of-this-world performance from Derrick Rose to keep the number one overall seed from dropping one of these games.  But can Derrick Rose carry that much weight through the whole playoffs?  Keep an eye on his minutes and how if the other Bulls players step up to see how Chicago holds up in the playoffs.  Rose is incredible, but he can't do it all every single game.

On Sunday night, Boston/New York and Denver/OKC provided two nail-biters as well.  New York horrifically blew that game through poor coaching, worse shot selection and even worse defense.  But I guess that isn't any different than how most of their games have gone this year.  Denver was robbed of a game that could give OKC the momentum it needs to pull out that series.  These two teams are so evenly matched that I believe that game one was absolutely pivotal to set the tone for the rest of the series.NBA-Playoff-Schedule-2010

As for the Dallas and Portland series, as a Blazers fan, I could just direct you to the box score and let you figure out why the Blazers lost that game.  Free throws and threes.  But one of the things that I feel like the analysts are overlooking is the play of Gerald Wallace.  Whether it was playoff jitters or Shawn Marion's defense, Crash never settled in at any point.  The Blazers absolutely need him to play better than he did in game one, or they will not stand a chance of winning this series.  Expect the Blazers to get him more involved tonight than they did on Saturday.  A big game from him and Aldridge are absolute musts.

Bill Simmons called this season in the NBA one of the greatest ever.  And while I like to disagree with him most of the time, I would find it tough to craft an argument against it.  The start of these playoffs sure make it tougher still.  Great storylines and some of the best league competition in years.  It's NBA playoff time. 


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