10 days into the playoffs, one of the eight series was a sweep (Boston 4-0 vs. New York), while Oklahoma City (3-0 vs. Denver), Chicago (3-1 vs. Indiana) and Miami (3-1 vs. Philadelphia) have their sites set for their next respective games before moving on; all three of those teams have home court advantage in their next game.
We head out west firstů
No. 1 San Antonio vs. No. 8 Memphis
(Memphis holds a 2-1 advantage)
While the Grizzlies may hold a one-game advantage for now, don't count out the aging Spurs just yet. Memphis' two wins have been by a combined six points- game one was without Manu Ginobilli and game three they shot just 2-of-15 from 3-point range (led by their bench shooting 1-for-10 from behind the arc). As Ginobili gets healthier and the interior defense of Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess gets better, Tony Parker will be able to get out in transition quicker and set up better looks on the perimeter.
No. 2 Los Angeles vs. No. 7 New Orleans
(Series tied 2-2)
Chris Paul has been tremendous and near-unguardable, especially when the Lakers switch all screens, leading Paul to be defended by members of the LA frontcourt. Think about the defending-champions height and skill advantage in the froncourt- Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom against Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor and Aaron Gray- that's yielded only a +8 in the paint for LA.
No. 3 Dallas vs. No. 6 Portland
(Series tied 2-2)
Looking at Dallas' roster, they were a team built for the playoffs five years ago with veterans like Dirk Nowitzki, who still has it, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Terry. Portland held home court in check as the series shifts back to Dallas tied 2-2, but the Trail Blazers have too many questions surrounding Brandon Roy's knee and thus their offense. This series should go seven.
No. 4 Oklahoma City vs. No. 5 Denver
(Oklahoma City holds a 3-0 advantage)
With game four on Oklahoma City's home turf, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook look to close out the series and advance to take on the winner of the Lakers and Hornets. I was worried about the Thunder's need for a third scorer to step up, but Durant and Westbrook have been terrific combing for 55 points a game, while Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins have controlled the paint on defense.