Here's a look at what to expect from the eight first round series in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.


1 Chicago Bulls vs. 8 Indiana Pacers. The Bulls will win this handily, despite the Pacers having an under-rated team, with effective players like Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, and Darren Collison. Expect the Bulls to show they're not a one-man team by getting bench players more involved.

Bulls in four

4 Orlando Magic vs. 5 Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks have taken three out of four against the Magic. But Orlando will show the grit it takes to advance in the playoffs. Dwight Howard will use his determination to win this series.

Magic in seven

2 Miami Heat vs. 7 Philadelphia 76ers. Neither team has a formidable center or a dominant point guard. Miami is a very hungry team, which is why they will win the series. There's no way LeBron James will allow a first-round exit.

Heat in five

3 Boston Celtics vs. 6 New York Knicks. The Celtics remain some experts' Eastern Conference favorites and have dominated the series with the Knicks. But Mike D'Antoni's squad have a veteran leader at the point guard position in Chauncey Billups, and an inspired Carmelo Anthony. The Celtics, however, have far more veterans, and too much pride to bow out to New York.

Boston in six


1. San Antonio Spurs vs. 8 Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have a better team than many think, and split the series with the Spurs this season. San Antonio has home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs, so they know this is their best chance at winning a title in years. Expect a consistent Spurs team in this year's playoffs.

Spurs in 5

4. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 5. Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have played solid basketball since acquiring Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari, giving them perhaps the deepest team in the NBA. But Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant, who is perhaps the most difficult player to guard in basketball.

Thunder in 5

2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7. New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets over-achieved with a 46-win season in 2010-2011. But losing forward David West will be too much for a team that was lacking in depth in the first place. Even with a hobbled Andrew Bynum, the Lakers will win easily.

Lakers in 4

3. Dallas Mavericks vs. 6 Portland Trail Blazers. This is the most intriguing series. Gerald Wallace has sparked the Blazers, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, who is finally getting the credit he deserves. The Mavericks are still a great regular-season team trying to prove themselves as a playoff team that can knock off the elite teams.

Mavericks in 7