It has been an uneventful first round of the playoffs unless you're a Chicago Bulls fan and in that case I just hope you don't jump off a bridge. We have already said goodbye to the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz, and every other series sits at 3-1. In some ways it is exciting because that means every future game is an elimination game. However, almost none of the series have been particularly competitive at this point so really any underdog that wins seems to be delaying the inevitable.
Tonight's slate features four possible series-clinching games. Bring on the second round, baby!
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers -- NBA TV (7 p.m.)
Pacers lead 3-1
The Magic might have surprised the Pacers in Game 1 but since then they just haven't been able to amass enough firepower or defense down low to keep the Pacers at bay. Let the Dwight Howard speculation begin. This one ends tonight.
Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks -- TNT (8 p.m.)
Celtics lead 3-1
The Hawks are a good team but the Celtics have really been clicking on all cylinders since the All-Star break. We can talk about how old the Celtics are any day of the week but in the playoffs there are off days and things slow down. Advantage Celtics. With that said, I think the Hawks pull this one out tonight. They are going to be feeding off of a home crowd that is going to attempt to will them to victory.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls -- NBA TV (9:30 p.m.)
76ers lead 3-1
How much have people given up on the beleaguered Bulls. Game 5, where they might be relegated to the dustbin of history has been banished to NBA TV. We're talking about one of the most talented, marketable teams in the NBA. They have resorted to writing hopeful pieces pointing out that veteran Richard Hamilton has "been here before" and prevailed with the Pistons when Detroit was down 3-1 to Orlando. Then again, I don't see a Tayshaun Prince emerging off of the Bulls bench. They might stave off elimination tonight but No Rose + No Noah = No chance.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers -- TNT (10:30 p.m.)
Lakers lead 3-1
I fall more and more in love with the Nuggets every time I get a chance to see them. Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari might be the most fun starting 4 in the NBA. If coach George Karl can knock some sense into JaVale McGee look out. But they are still a year away. Lakers are playing lights out and I think I'm going to guaransheed a victory for L.A. tonight.