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First-Round Playoff Schedule

2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Forecasting Winners For Every First-Round Matchup

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2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Forecasting Winners For Every First-Round Matchup
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The playoffs are just a few days away now folks, and I'm sure you're just as excited as I am to get things started!

Now that the standings are finally falling into place, it's time to start predicting who's going to make it out of the first round this year, and actually make a run toward this year's NBA Finals. Some teams have valid cause for concern going into the postseason, while others seem to have a firm grip of control on their game at exactly the right time. I'm positive that many of you have written off the Lakers, with their recent injuries and inconsistencies, but let me assure you that the moment you sleep on a killer, they kill you.

Just like the Lakers, the Celtics are not to be forgotten heading into the postseason. What some people can't seem to get their head around is that teams like Los Angeles and Boston become an entirely different animal when the playoffs begin. Both of these teams have had a rough ride to the finish line this year, but they did last year as well, and we all know how that turned out.

Apart from the favorites to return to the big show, there are many upcoming teams with something to prove this year. The Bulls would love to shock the world by taking out the other Eastern heavyweights, the Thunder would love to show the West that their more than a talented young team and the Pacers would love to get a few more paychecks before they are unavoidably sent packing.

With all of the juicy matchups looming just a few days ahead, it's time to see how things are going to shake out in the first round. So without further ado, the envelopes please..

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