Howard Beck's Ultimate Guide

First-Round Playoff Schedule

Conference Semi-Finals: the Road to the NBA Finals Continues

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Conference Semi-Finals: the Road to the NBA Finals Continues
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The road to the NBA finals continues, and eight bruised and battered teams make their way to the conference semi-finals. Who will make it to the final four, and one step closer to the Larry O’Brien Trophy? McMullen’s Musings, once again, peers into its crystal ball and predicts who will take that next step.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: The Hawks took the Heat to seven games, while the newly-crowned MVP of the league, LeBron James, and the Cavaliers made quick work of the Pistons. Do the Hawks have enough in the tank to upset the Cavaliers? With the depth Cleveland has, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Cavaliers in four.

Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics: I watched most of the Celtics’ series against the Bulls, and they bounced back from two huge injuries to win in seven. If Dwight Howard does the same thing, I just don’t see how the Magic will even begin to compete in this series. Howard is young, and could come back in the same series, if it isn’t serious. However, you can’t say the same for the Celtics. This one could be exciting, but the Celtics will probably just be too worn out to compete.

Magic in six.

Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers: On paper, this looks like the ideal matchup for the Western Conference Finals. However, the Lakers have it all: the depth, the superstar, and the Zen Master. Add all that up, and it makes for a crazy, but short, series for the Rockets, barring some freak injury to Kobe Bryant.

Lakers in four.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets: These are two teams that pulled off surprising victories in their first round matchups and are glad to be out of the first round. The Nuggets got Chauncey Billups from the Pistons, and paired with Carmelo Anthony, and Denver’s never looked better. This could be the most exciting series of the four, and it should bring back flashes of the Bulls/Celtics series.

Nuggets in seven.

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