The NBA playoffs have taken off and the sometimes less-than-dazzling first round has finally ended.
Itís now time for some serious playoff basketball.
For the first time in a long time, five of the six remaining conference final teams have a legitimate shot at winning it all. With so much parity between the remaining teams, these are my top five hot button playoff questions.
5. Is the Oklahoma City Thunder tough enough?
It is one thing to want to beat the Lakers. It is a whole different thing to step between the hopes and dreams of five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant and his quest for a sixth ring. Talk is cheap and winning a game is easy, but winning a series takes more than just talent. Even after the game one butt-kicking that the Thunder laid on the Lakers, does anyone think this series isnít going to game seven?
It takes killer instincts and Iím not completely convinced the Thunder have that just yet.
4. Do the Big Three still have enough for one more?
There is no mistaking that this team belongs to star point guard Rajon Rondoís team, but even he canít hope to carry this team on his back by himself. The biggest question for the Celtics is are they fresh enough to make a serious challenge to the Miami Heat and avoid getting picked off by Philadelphia 76erís.
3. Why is no one talking about the San Antonio Spurs?
Spur Center Tim Duncan is past his prime, but he is surrounded by a team that does not depend on him to carry them any longer. He and the Spurs are in a great position to make a run and it wouldnít surprise me one bit to see them sneak into the championship series.
2. Is Los Angeles Clipper forward Blake Griffin more than a highlight reel?
Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are nicked up going into the series against the Spurs. For the young Clippers, it is imperative that they have a competitive series, not only because of theyíre young and building, but also because the team is trying to convince Paul to commit to a long term contract. This season isnít so much about the championship this year as it is about future championships.
1. How much is Chris Bosh worth to the Miami Heat?
Bosh is not only important to the Heat because he can consistently hit a 15-foot jumper that opens up the middle for Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, but he makes teams guard him behind the three-point line. James and Wade just got more pressure to win whether they liked it or not.