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Storylines aplenty for NBA first round
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 18, 2013 @ 9:00 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
It doesn’t get any better than this, NBA fans.
And, for that matter, NBA reporters.
Playoff storylines, anyone? New York and Boston square off in the East, where it was looking for a while there earlier this season like the Miami Heat would be the only team worth watching on that side of the league’s ledger. The Celtics were never supposed to stay this good for this long without injured point guard Rajon Rondo, yet the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks are well aware they’ll need to respect their elders in green.
Brooklyn vs. Chicago is the pressure-packed matchup, as the Derrick Rose-less Bulls are more than capable of upsetting the Nets and have the underappreciated Nate Robinson as the perfect poster boy for their underdog status. Brooklyn has won six of its last seven games, though, so Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez may be able to maintain their momentum and survive until the second round.
The Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio series is must-see TV as well, with Dwight Howard & Co. looking worthy of giving the ailing Spurs a good run even without Kobe Bryant. The only thing better would have been the ageless Tim Duncan against fellow old guy, Kobe Bryant, but Pau Gasol has been drinking from the same fountain of youth of late and looks ready to battle with any and all bigs.
Then there’s Oklahoma City vs. Houston. Or, to put it more accurately, the James Harden reunion series. The former Thunder star who was traded from the Thunder to the Rockets in early October will have a chance to show his old team they never should have let him go, while Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden’s replacement, former Rockets shooting guard Kevin Martin, would love nothing more than to show the hoops world that this new-look version is better than the old.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty to appreciate in the Golden State vs. Denver affair. The Nuggets are still looking as dominant as ever despite being leveled by the injury bug, as they’ve won five of six games since learning that small forward Danilo Gallinari was done … [For more on Storylines aplenty for NBA first round, click here.]
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