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NBA Playoffs Race 2011

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Will the Lakers repeat?

This NBA season has been a bit of a shock for most. Teams that we thought would blow out the competition have been struggling to keep consistent, while teams that many expected to barely make the playoffs have really turned on the jets. Needless to say, this season has provided many trills and spills, but it has been very entertaining to see it all play out. Now with less then 10 games to go for most teams, it is really time to settle down and get ready for the playoff push.

The most impressive of this season has undoubtedly been the magnificent play of the Chicago Bulls. With unrelenting defense and an MVP candidate in Derrick Rose, the Bulls have found themselves in sole possession of the EAST, and look to locking down the second-best record in the league. That will come in really handy if the Bulls are to make it to the finals. Another team that has really come on as of late would be the Los Angeles Lakers; lead by Kobe Bryant and the phenomenal play of Andrew Bynum have repositioned themselves as a top contender. They have won 14 of their last 15 games, their only loss coming from the Miami Heat, which – due to horrible officiating – was lost in the last seconds of play. With Tim Duncan hurting and the Spurs losing their last three games, the Lakers have an outside chance of taking the lead.

Miami and Orlando have been the poster boys for inconsistency this year, they have had stellar games where they have man-handled playoff contenders, beating them by 20-plus points, then they've gone on to lose to teams under .500. Boston has also had another spectacular season, and their big trade with Oklahoma City has solved a growing concern with that team – the concern being the age of some of their start players. Jeff Green has been a welcome addition to the team who's averaging 3-1-11 off of 20 minutes of play. Those may not be the greatest of numbers, but he's come up big for them in clutch moments.

Dallas has been also playing very well this season. At their healthiest, they would be hard-pressed to beat in 4 times in a 7-game series. With Jason Terri and Dirk Nowitzki, they have been lead to another great season. Finally, Oklahoma City has not been as impressive as everyone had thought they would be, but they have definitely been in contention. With a young team with the League's leading scorer in Kevin Durant and the quick Guard in Westbrook, if they can get passed the Second round then they have a good chance of playing in the Finals. Finally, Denver made a blockbuster trade with the Knicks to bolster the team. Right now it seems like Denver is definitely the winner in the Trade, winning 7 of their last 10 and having definitely been on a role. Instead of having a ball hog take the shot, they have an entire host of players ready to take the winning shot.

Predictions

First Round

East: Bulls, Magic, Miami, Celtics

West: San Antonio, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles

Conference Finals

East: Bulls, Celtics

West: Denver, Los Angeles

Finals

Bulls, Lakers

And the NBA champions for the third time in three years will be the Los Angeles Lakers.

Author of this article: Mohammad Rizvi
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