2011 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinal Predictions

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinal Predictions
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

What a first round we had in the 2011 NBA playoffs! Out of eight games, we had two upsets and a lot of close-ish games (although it would have been nice to see a Game 7 somewhere).

We had the Chicago Bulls struggling to put away a resilient and tough-skinned Indiana Pacers team late in games, despite the eventual 4-1 series win.

We had Boston ruthlessly dispose of the New York Knicks in four games, even though there was widespread belief that the Knicks, with all their star power, could potentially upset the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

In addition, we saw a first glimpse in the playoffs of the Miami Big 3 and co. as they impressed against a young and athletic Philadelphia 76'ers squad. The upset in the Eastern Conference came in the No. 4 vs No. 5 seed matchup, as the Atlanta Hawks got sweet redemption against the Orlando Magic (who swept them last year).

Out West, we had the Los Angeles Lakers coming up against a revitalized Chris Paul as they had a tough time putting New Orleans away. Also, the Dallas Mavericks wiped away any notion of maybe choking in the first round, as they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in six.

The other upset came in this conference, and boy was it an upset. The San Antonio Spurs, who for so long were the best team in the regular season, came up against a grizzly, resolute and persistent Memphis side who upset them 4-2.

We also had the Oklahoma City Thunder playing great first-round basketball, as they defeated the Denver Nuggets in five games.

As the second round matches begin on Sunday, here's what's in store:

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(No. 1) Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks (No. 5)

(No. 2) Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (No. 3)

Western Conference Semifinals

(No. 4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies (No. 8) 

(No. 2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks (No. 3)

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