The second round matchups in the 2012 NBA playoffs have yet to be determined. Even so, dramatic series are on the horizon.
Colossal pairings between quality teams will result in basketball only suited for the postseason.
Nothing will be more exciting than these upsets.
Celtics Defeat Bulls
The Celtics will knock off the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. Rose's absence will be felt every time Rajon Rondo has the ball.
Granted, Rose did miss 27 games this year. The Bulls are used to playing without the 2011 NBA MVP, but the loss goes beyond statistics at this point.
Losing your best player at this juncture is a tremendous blow to team morale. Rose is their only go-to option on offense and their unquestioned superstar. Chicago will not recover from his loss mentally in time beat the Celtics' grizzled veterans.
Boston only defeated Chicago once during the regular season, but the timing of Rose's injury almost makes that irrelevant. Boston's sole victory was at the beginning of Rose's injury-plagued regular season.
Playing Chicago at the beginning of their Rose-less playoff run is eerily similar. It is even worse for the Bulls because of the unforgiving nature of the playoffs.
The Celtics are not ready to hang another championship banner, but they have enough juice to knock off a reeling Chicago squad.
Lakers Defeat Thunder
The Thunder defeated the Lakers in two of three regular season contests. That success will not translate into second-round success, and the Thunder will fall.
The storylines run deep in this second-round series. Derek Fisher is Oklahoma City's backup floor general and the fledgling Thunder faced the Lakers in a dramatic 2010 playoff series.
Will the Lakers defeat the Thunder if they meet in Round 2?
This series will be shocking because of the Thunder's lofty expectations. Oklahoma City is arguably the most talented team in the NBA today, but they will falter against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Los Angeles has the size to match up with Oklahoma City. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum may not hold the advantage over Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka defensively, but they are significantly better on offense.
Plus, the Lakers have Bryant. He lost the NBA's scoring race to Kevin Durant, but his prowess will be on full display in the playoffs. Bryant is known for playing his best on the big stage, and he will upstage the upstart Thunder backcourt.
The Lakers are much older and more experienced than the Thunder. Experience pays major dividends in the playoffs and will keep the Thunder from finally realizing their championship dreams.