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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | April 16, 2010

NBA Playoffs: Round 1 Breakdown

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

Eastern Conference

Cavaliers (1) vs. Bulls (8) - Cleveland finished the season with the league's best record, but that doesn't mean that they don't have flaws. If Lebron James is going to win his first title this season, he's going to need some help from his teammates. When he rears back and charges through the lane like the bulls at Pamplona, defenders close in on him leaving other Cavs wide open. If guys like Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams can hit those open looks, the Cavs will have zero problems getting past Chicago.
Prediction: Cavaliers in 5

Magic (2) vs. Bobcats (7) - The Magic were 3-1 against the Bobcats this season and while the Bobcats are an extremely athletic team that can cause teams fits in transition. They lack a true clutch scorer. Orlando has everything necessary to be successful in the postseason. They are experienced after last season's trip to the finals, they have a dominant big man, perimeter scorers and a reliable point guard. They'll take care of Charlotte easily.
Prediction: Magic in 4

Hawks (3) vs. Bucks (6) - The Hawks are the team that nobody wants to play this time of year. What they lack in experience, they more than make up for in pure athleticism. To be blunt, they can run teams out of the arena. The Bucks success this season has been admirable, but without center Andrew Bogut, they have no chance at knocking off the Hawks.
Prediction: Hawks in 4

Celtics (4) vs. Heat (5) - Which Celtics are going to show up this series? Will it be the team that went 14-1 during one stretch this season, or will be it the team that lost to the lowly Nets, Warriors and Wizards? The Celtics are a veteran team and when they are playing well, they are capable of beating anyone. They'll get past the Heat, but they'll be on borrowed time after that.
Prediction: Celtics in 6

Western Conference

Lakers (1) vs. Thunder (8) - This has the potential to be one of the more exciting series in the first round. It's very similar to the Celtics-Hawks series two years ago when the young Hawks gave the Celtics all they could handle for seven games before running out of magic. The Thunder are an extremely young team led by Kevin Durant. How will he handle the pressure of his first playoff series? The Lakers know what this time of year is all about, but in order for them to repeat as champions, they'll need Andrew Bynum to come back healthy.
Prediction: Lakers in 5

Mavericks(2) vs. Spurs(7) - This is the most intriguing series of the entire first round. Doesn't it feel like these teams have met 100 times in the playoffs? They're like Rocky and Apollo Creed going at it one more time. The Spurs veteran core is a well-known commodity and they'll need to squeeze every ounce of energy they have left in order to make a deep run in the playoffs. The Mavericks had to battle until the last game of the regular season in order to secure the number two seed, and, while they might have rather rested the last week, it could actually benefit them now. Dirk Nowitzki has the best supporting cast he's ever had, and, if the Mavericks are ever going to get over the hump and win a title, it is going to happen with these players.
Prediction: Mavericks in 7

Suns (3) vs. Blazers (6) - Suns fans should be quite pleased that the team decided against trading Amare Stoudamire at the deadline and instead opted to make a run at postseason glory. They are led by the ageless Steve Nash, and, as long as guys like Jason Richardson and Grant Hill hit the open shots that Nash sets them up with, the Suns will roll past Portland.
Prediction: Suns in 4

Nuggets (4) vs. Jazz (5) - It's almost too bad that these two darkhorse teams are playing one another in the first round of the playoffs because they each are capable of surprising teams and making a deep run in the playoffs. Since only one will make it out of the first round, we can look forward to a fantastic series between these two underrated teams. The Jazz have the edge at point guard and are a deeper team, but the Nuggets are a great defensive team and have more offensive weapons.
Prediction: Nuggets in 6