WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA PLAYOFFS UNDERWAY

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The NBA Playoffs are underway.

LeBron JamesFirst up, LeBron James looked to win his first playoff game en route to a championship.  They would take on the Chicago Bulls, the team that gave the Boston Celtics all they could handle in last year’s memorable first round series.  Well, Derrick Rose had a big game for the Bulls with 28 points, but LeBron and the Cavs were simply too much.  LeBron had a modest game with 24 points, but the Cavs really look like they are jelling at just the right time.  Cleveland 96, Chicago 83.

And yesterday, it was the first round match-up that most think could be a fantastic showdown.  Kobe Bryant and the Lakers vs. the up-and-coming superstar Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The Lakers didn’t close out the last month of their regular season well, and seemed to have chinks in the armor.  The Thunder had a fantastic season, and a first round match-up vs. the Lakers gets them some much deserved National TV time to really show what they can do.  Well, Durant did have 24 points in the game, but it took him 24 shots to get it.  Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest essentially shut him down and took him out of the game.  That was the strategy — shut down Durant, and make the rest of the team beat you.  For the Lakers, the off-season acquisition of Artest is now put in the spotlight.  His defense is what the Lakers truly need to win another championship.  LA Lakers 87, Oklahoma City 79.

And later it was the Orlando Magic vs. the red-hot Charlotte Bobcats.  This is the Bobcats first post-season appearance as a franchise.  They have been a spectacular defensive team, captained by a coach who knows how to win in the playoffs:  Larry Brown.  Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they drew one of the toughest teams in the NBA in the first round.  If anybody has a chance to stop LeBron and the Cavs, it’s the Orlando Magic.  If the Bobcats would have drawn, maybe, the Celtics or Hawks in the first round, they might be able to pull an upset, but the Magic will be very tough to conquer in a 7-game series.  Gerald Wallace had a solid game for Charlotte with 25 points, but the hero of the night was Magic point-guard Jameer Nelson.  He had 32 points and 6 assists, as the Magic took Game 1.  Orlando 98, Charlotte 89.

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