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Saturdayís NBA Playoff Match Ups
(Nuggets @ Hornets Game 3, Hawks @ Heat Game 3)
Usually the first round of the NBA playoffs are relatively boring with one or two intriguing match ups, but this year we have some competitive battles between heavyweights in both conferences getting challenged by teams that struggled just to make the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets @ New Orleans Hornets Game 3
Coming into this series I thought the New Orleans Hornets lead by Chris Paul could take the Nuggets the distance. The Nuggets havenít made it out of the first round of the playoffs since way back in 1994 when they pulled off the huge upset over the number one seed Seattle Supersonics so seeing them get knocked out early would not have been a big surprise even with the second seed in the West.
The Hornets have improved by leaps and bounds over the past couple seasons with Chris Paul running the point. This season the Hornets looked like legit title contenders coming into the season with the addition of sharp shooting defensive specialist James Posey from the defending champion Boston Celtics and the team gaining some much needed postseason experience.
Although they had a promising start to the season the Hornets really started to fade as the season went on. Chris Paul kept playing like the best point guard in the league, but the supporting cast struggled with injury problems all year long.
Game one against the Nuggets was a huge wake up call for the Hornets as Chauncey Billups and company just destroyed New Orleans blowing them out by 29 points. Game two wasnít much different as the Nuggets continued to hammer on the Hornets beating them again by a convincing margin of 15 points.
Now the series moves to New Orleans where I believe we will see much of the same with Denver playing solid basketball on both ends of the floor. I hate to think that a team with a player like Chris Paul could get swept, but that seems like a good possibility.
Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat Game 3
Dwyane Wade is a legit MVP candidate as he has played as if reborn this season, but the team around needs to improve much like the Los Angeles Lakers needed to when Kobe had to light up the scoreboard only a few seasons ago.
Even though Wade seems to have score 30 or more for the Heat to even have chance of winning the game, game two of this series went in Miamiís favor. Wade got out of his scoring funk of the first game by putting up 33 points and the Heat started to come together.
I think the Hawks will not go down without a fight much like they did last season when they took the eventual NBA champions to seven games, but if Wade can keep the Hawk defenders on their heels like he did in game two I see the Heat taking control in this series in Miami.
The Heat might not get both wins in Miami, but they should take the first game on their home floor.
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