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Friday Roundtable: Best NBA playoff matchup?

By Matt Moore | NBA writer
Ben Golliver and Matt Moore discuss the question, what playoff matchup are you most looking forward to?

Matt Moore: So I'm kind of excited about Miami-New York. I'm such a small-market, underrated matchup guy, but something about all that star power combined with the kinds of matchups it creates gets me going. It's the matchup Chicago-Miami should be, except that Chicago's defense and pace grinds everything into oblivion. The whole guarding Melo thing is such a big challenge for LeBron and I always like seeing how he fails in those situations just in case he pulls it off like he did vs. Derrick Rose last year. Tyson Chandler could also have 7,000 blocks in this series and will probably break Dwyane Wade's lung at some point.

I think Boston-Atlanta could be much more interesting than people are giving it credit for. Atlanta's always underwhelming, but the last time they weren't was 2008 when they pushed the Celtics to 7 games. That Boston team was better than this Celtics team, and this Atlanta team is better than that Atlanta team. And Zaza Pachulia and/or Kevin Garnett will get ejected at some point.
Memphis-Clippers is the easy draw, but I'm also hopeful of a Denver-San Antonio matchup. That's going to be just a ton of offense and I don't think either team can guard one another.

Ben Golliver: Right up there with Heat/Knicks has to be the potential Lakers/Mavericks series out West. Let's hope this 3/6 match-up holds up for the next week. Talk about storylines. Kobe Bryant's revenge for last season, an even more unstable Andrew Bynum thrown into the playoff pressure-cooker, Mike Brown vs. Rick Carlisle the tactician, Dirk's title defense. The up and down Mavericks haven't exactly inspired a ton of confidence this year nor have they truly made a positive momentum push down the stretch but they're not exactly an easy out for anyone. It's difficult to imagine there will be a playoff series testier than this one given the presence of Bynum, Metta World Peace, Delonte West, Matt Barnes and all the rest.
Instead of Spurs/Nuggets I'd prefer Spurs/Jazz in a 1/8 match-up. Sneaking into the playoffs would be a great cap on what was potentially supposed to be a rebuilding year for the up-and-coming Jazz. They would probably get steamrolled by the Spurs efficiency machine but the early playoff experience for the likes of Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and company would be a nice step. With an excellent home record and great rebounding numbers perhaps the Jazz could make this one more exciting than you might think. After all the ugliness surrounding Deron Williams and the departure of Jerry Sloan last year, Jazz fans have certainly earned some playoff excitement.
In the East, it's Heat/Knicks and a bunch of bla. One series I'll be looking at is Pacers/Magic, if only because Indiana hasn't gotten nearly enough due for its top 5 winning percentage league-wide. These guys aren't under the radar, they're totally off the screen. Will they conduct themselves like the heavy favorite they should be in the first round and make easy work of a Dwight Howard-less Magic team? Or will they drag their feet as they get re-accustomed to postseason play for just the second time in the last six seasons. Obviously, that's not the sexiest storyline but you can see the Pacers bandwagon picking up serious steam if they dispatch the Magic and then push the Heat in a potential second round match-up.


Matt Moore:
I'm just worried that the Mavs aren't prepared to face the Lakers' size. Who's guarding Bynum now? Will Gasol go in the tank as badly? With the Lakers arguably having the point guard advantage with Ramon Sessions over Jason Kidd and the revenge factor, I'm concerned this could get out of hand. I like the Mavs' approach against a lot of teams, but the Lakers seem like one that could turn into a stomping.
I'm with you on the Jazz being the best option at the 8th seed. With Houston falling apart, the Jazz have the best combination of players that could go nuts at any moment. Paul Millsap in the playoffs is a really, really good idea. Plus Devin Harris was at his best with playoff games against the Spurs, so there's hope there. Also, Gordon Hayward against Stephen Jackson. YES PLEASE, I WILL IF YOU DO NOT MIND.
I would rather have root canal done with a scythe than watch Bulls-Sixers.


Ben Golliver:
A potential Boston/Atlanta series has the dental surgery vibe for me. I've been ready to hit fast forward on both teams for more than a year. A Chicago/Boston second round series has promise but Celtics/Hawks has "please put us out of our misery" potential by halftime of Game 2.
I can't say I have solid answers to your questions about the Lakers. But I also can't say I'm confident that their team dynamic will make the most of their on-paper advantages. They're just skittish enough not to be trusted.
As boring and grinding as Bulls/Sixers figures to be, at least it should be more competitive than Bulls/Bucks would have been. Chicago swept its season series with Milwaukee 4-0, never failing to put up less than 106 points. Would have been a whooping, healthy Derrick Rose or otherwise.
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