The NBA playoffs are off to an exciting, if not surprising start. I’ll admit to being among the masses that felt that in the Eastern Conference Boston and Detroit would cruise but in the tightly packed Western Conference there could be some close deep series and some possible upsets. It even looked like a decent idea to put down some series wagers on the underdogs as Denver, Houston, Phoenix, and Dallas all seemed capable of advancing considering how few games separated the eight teams in overall records.
So far the complete opposite has been the case. The Lakers were the only team to deliver a sweep and San Antonio and New Orleans advanced with out a serious challenge. Utah still has a commanding 3-2 lead going back to Utah for game 6 so they should be in good position although that is the one upset opportunity, and that really could not be called a significant upset as the Rockets held the home court edge in the series.
In the Eastern Conference the Magic have already moved on and Cleveland looks well on its way to being the next team to move on despite Toronto and Washington looking like dangerous underdogs. Meanwhile the Pistons and Celtics have been the teams challenged the most despite dominating the regular season. Boston delivered two blowout wins in game 1 and 2 but Atlanta stood up to the Celtics and played tough basketball at home to deliver back-to-back upsets. Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to go up 3-1 in game four of the series but blowing that late lead appears to be the end of the 76ers. They still have a shot but that was a devastating blow that may be too much to overcome. Boston is a 14-point favorite tonight and most everyone expects the Celtics to move on and shake off the tough losses but perhaps things will continue to be counter-intuitive tonight.