Chris Paul vs. Tony Parker and the Most Dynamic Matchups of the NBA Playoffs
Now that we are down to the final eight NBA teams left standing in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, individual matchups become far more scrutinized and ultimately could determine the winner of each series the rest of the way.
It doesn't get better for the NBA fan than the current Tony Parker-Chris Paul matchup as two of the best point guards in the NBA go head-to-head in a pivotal Round 2 series.
The battle between two point guards coming off of MVP-type seasons is certainly one to take note of, but it won't be the only faceoff worth watching the rest of the way.
Here's a look at just 10 of a long list of dynamic matchups that could happen before the 2012 NBA champions are crowned.
Tony Parker vs Chris Paul
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As I mentioned before, this matchup of floor generals is a treat for the NBA fan.
The Clippers' acquisition of Paul paid off as they won only their second series victory in franchise history, but now they will be facing a very good and well-rested San Antonio team in Round 2.
Their postseason numbers are similar and just as good as the ones each All-Star put up during the regular season.
Parker: 21.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 TPG, 2.6 A/TO
Paul: 20.4 PPG, 7.1 APG, 5.7 RPG, 3.6 TPG, 2.0 A/TO
Parker has been the steady influence in making the Spurs offense run like the machine that it is.
Paul, on the other hand, has come up big already this postseason and could have some more magic left in him as the Clippers look for the upset.
One thing is for certain, this point guard matchup is going to be one to see.
Kobe Bryant vs Kevin Durant
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I know these two won't be primarily matched up against each other on the defensive end of the floor, but it is a matchup of the two top scorers during the regular season and quite possibly will offer some compelling drama before this series ends.
Durant (28.0 PPG) edged Bryant (27.9 PPG) for the regular season scoring tile and both guys are filling it up after one round of the postseason.
Kobe leads all playoff performers in scoring with 29.1 points per game, while Durant isn't too far behind, averaging 26.5.
These two could put on a show competing against each other and fans could be treated to some clutch performances along the way.
Metta World Peace vs James Harden
The 'Elbow Shot Heard Round the World' will be revisited as Metta World Peace and James Harden are reunited just in time for Round 2 of the playoffs.
Will there be any carryover effect or bad blood?
That remains to be seen as a heated seven-game series could always bring out something unpredictable from World Peace.
Blake Griffin vs Tim Duncan
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It's a matchup of the up-and-coming potentially dominant power forward in Griffin against the old school fundamentally sound Duncan.
After a tremendous first two seasons in the NBA in which he has averaged 21.7 points and 11.5 rebounds, Griffin is viewed as one of the future great NBA big men.
Yet Duncan has forgotten more about the game than Griffin has learned, proving with a solid 2012 regular season that he's not ready to hang up the sneakers just yet.
He put up a solid 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds thus far in the playoffs and still could teach the high-rising Griffin a thing or two. Whoever gets the edge in this matchup could play a big role in who comes out on top in the series.
Russell Westbrook vs Ramon Sessions
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The Lakers needed a point guard and when they acquired Sessions from Cleveland, it looked as if they solved all of their problems.
Yet while Sessions has been good, he's struggled big time defending athletic point guards.
Westbrook will provide a huge challenge for Sessions as he's averaged 23 points and seven assists against the Lakers during three regular season matchups.
Sessions was only around for two of those meetings.
In an Oklahoma City win on March 29, Westbrook had his way, scoring 36 points while dishing out five assists.
But on April 22 during a come-from-behind Lakers overtime win, Westbrook struggled from the floor, making only 3-of-22 shot attempts, finishing with only 14 points and 10 assists.
This could be the one individual matchup that determines who advances to the Western Conference Finals.
Rajon Rondo vs. LeBron James
Here's looking ahead to a possible Boston Celtics-Miami Heat Eastern Conference Finals matchup, but if things play out that way, Rondo could be the one thing standing in between LeBron and a chance at that elusive ring.
After the All-Star break, Rondo may be the best point guard in the NBA and in two April matchups, Rondo torched Miami.
In two Celtics wins, Rondo averaged 17 points, 14.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds.
In order to slow down Rondo, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra may have to use LeBron to guard Rondo more than he would probably like, similar to the way he used James to shut down Derrick Rose in last seasons Eastern Conference Finals.
Tony Parker vs Russell Westbrook
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What style of play will win out if this matchup happens in the Western Conference Finals?
You have the pure floor general in Parker against the score first point guard in Westbrook.
San Antonio won two of three regular season games against the Thunder with Parker averaging 23.7 points, 7.7 assists and a nice 5.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Westbrook was good as well against the Spurs, averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 assists, but his assist-to- turnover ration was only 2.4.
This could be another outstanding point guard duel to keep an eye on.
LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant
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With an eye aimed at the NBA Finals, here's a possible must-watch matchup between two of the best players in the NBA looking for their first ring.
The two teams split a pair of games during the regular season, with Durant and James playing a big role in their respective teams victory.
Head-to-head, Durant averaged 29.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists compared to LeBron's 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists.
This could be a great head-to-head matchup worth seeing and it could happen on the biggest stage of them all in the NBA Finals.