After watching the playoffs for a week, here are some thoughts on each of the series.
CLE vs CHI
Not much to say here except that Lebron James is beyond incredible, and that Derrick Rose is very entertaining to watch. Regardless of whether he stays or goes, I think LBJ understands that this will be his best chance at a championship in the next three years. Chicago is almost there, and with the progress of Rose and Noah, probably could have made some real impact had they dealt Gordon (two years ago) and/or Deng. They really need some muscle down low, and a real spot up shooter would be nice too.
ORL vs CHA
Charlotte plays hard every game, and it's a shame that it looks like they're heading for a sweep. They are a really good group for Larry Brown, so he might stay a bit longer. They've done a really good job of making Howard uncomfortable, but when Jameer Nelson gets hot it's too hard to stop Orlando. To me, they are clearly the deepest team in the playoffs.
ATL vs MIL
They were showing a stat during game 3 of the series that in Atlanta's last 9 road playoff games, they were 1-8 with an average loss margin of 24. Game 3 stayed on track with that average, and if Milwaukee can repeat that performance, this will be a series. Even though they weren't really in it in both games in Atlanta, they weren't blown out either, so there's still some reason to possibly fear the deer. It's quite sad to think how the Bucks would have been able to play if Bogut didn't get injured. Brandon Jennings is a winner and I believe he will continue to be a winner the rest of his NBA career. Even if people compare him to Allen Iverson, Iverson did make it to an NBA finals with a horrific supporting cast. Jennings, though, has the benefit of having Skiles as his coach, and he's done a good job of keeping Jennings in his place while letting him go off when he's feeling it. I feel much more confident about the futures of Jennings and Curry among this year's rookie class than Tyreke Evans, who could easily end up being a Steve Francis (although I hope not).
BOS vs MIA
I don't blame the Miami coach for not using his last foul in game three. Doc Rivers draws up fantastic out of bounds plays, so there wasn't much advantage in having the Celtics take it out. Rather, I think there just wasn't enough preparation on the part of the defender, since Pierce was allowed to step to his right and pull up, which is essentially his move. Wade is still amazing, but with both Jermaine O'Neal and Michael Beasley not really showing up there's nothing he can do.
LAL vs OKC
An entertaining series through and through. Kevin Durant is mature beyond his years and could easily will them to this upset. Russell Westbrook is just schooling the older, slower Derek Fisher. While much of the talk has been about Kobe not being full strength, I believe the key to this series (and possible future Lakers series) will be the bench. Once considered the deepest team in the NBA along with the Nuggets, their bench is much thinner now and definitely underperforming. It's easier for bench players to play much better at home, so maybe the Lakers will squeeze it out with the home court advantage.
DAL vs SAS
This was the matchup I really didn't want, since I like both teams. Dallas would have matched up well against almost any other team. Unfortunately, a couple of their key pieces (Kidd and Marion) have not had much success historically against the Spurs. Caron Butler has underperformed, while Jason Terry hasn't gone on one of his hot streaks. What I really think Dallas needs to do is to really utilize the extra set of fouls down low now that they have two effective centers in Dampier and Haywood. They need to rough up Duncan a bit, make him work hard in the post, and wear him down. As for the Spurs, putting Parker on the bench has really opened up the game for Richard Jefferson, since Manu is a better passer. I think they should definitely play Dajuan Blair, Manu, George Hill and Richard Jefferson together while playing Parker with Bogans and McDyess.
POR vs PHO
What a crazy series. The return of Brandon Roy is what most will talk about, but there is a real chess game going on in this series. First Andre Miller went off. So Gentry put Grant Hill on him, slowing him down, while letting Jason Richardson use his energy on the offensive end. McMillan counters by starting Bayless as well, so that with two speedy point guard types, they expose Nash on defense. While the two teams have very different styles, they are actually fairly evenly matched overall, so it should be interesting what set of moves come next.
UTA vs DEN
Two teams that won't be able to reach their full potential this season because of late injuries. However, they both play an entertaining up-tempo game so it's fun to watch. With Utah being such a good home team though, I make them a strong favorite now that they took home field advantage. The real story of this series for me has been Deron Williams' strong play. He's getting himself back into that Chris Paul level of untouchable point guards. I also like that Boozer has played well, showing that the Utah front office know what they're doing.
It's been very entertaining so far, and I'm looking foward to more.