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Top teams vie for NBA’s top prize

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By Gary Sellers / Staff Writer

By Gary Sellers / Staff Writer

With the 2010 NBA season finally coming to an end and the top teams gearing up for the postseason; it’s time to take a look at some things to look forward to in the coming months.

One of the top players to look out for is the young Kevin Durant; with an outstanding MVP caliber season under his belt, the question remains, how will he fare in the playoffs?

He had an impressive 29 game streak with at least 25 points or more, a feat that lies second only to Hall of famer Michael Jordan.

Through the month of April, Durant has averaged 29.7 points per game.

To get past the first round in the arduous Western Conference, Durant must learn to trust in his teammates Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, but also know when it’s time to take over, especially in fourth quarter situations when the game’s on the line.

In a game dominated solely by youth, can a team composed up of veterans still take the crown?

This is exactly what the Boston Celtics have endured throughout the season. Mid-season injuries and struggles have given the Celtics a reputation that they are too old to compete in a league full of adolescents.

A team who once put fear in the eyes of opponents is no more. Teams around the league no longer look at the Celtics and see the same team that dominated the league two years ago, taking the championship over the Lakers in a 39 point blowout in the 2008 finals.

The Celtics appeared to have hit rock bottom in January going an abysmal 6-8 for the month.

The next month their woes continued as they lost to the lowly New Jersey Nets in Boston.

The Celtics appear to be a third or fourth seed entering the playoffs, meaning the first round should be a walk through the park.

The second round however, will be an obstacle the Celtics must overcome as they will most likely face the Orlando Magic, who knocked them out of the playoffs last year, or the league leading Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the Lakers and the Cavaliers apparently destined to finally meet in the finals, can another contender knock them out prematurely? The Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets appear to be the Lakers fiercest competition.

The way the Western Conference is playing, even the seventh seed San Antonio Spurs have a chance at reaching the finals.

In the East, the Cavaliers might once again have to face the very same team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season, the Orlando Magic.

Both teams improved during the offseason for moments like this.

The Atlanta Hawks, with the growth of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith also stand out as contenders to take the East crown away from LeBron James, despite losing the season series.

The crown jewel of these playoffs would be to see the Lakers and the Cavaliers finally face each other in the NBA finals; a prominent series for two reasons, the battle of Kobe vs. LeBron, and Kobe vs. Shaq.

A Kobe vs. Shaq finals would finally cease all the disputes about who can win more rings without each other.

Such a dominant force for the Lakers of the early 2000s, and the best one-two punch of this era, should Kobe and Shaq face each other in a final series the feuding will finally come to an end with the victor having ultimate bragging rights.

A Kobe vs. LeBron final is what everyone wants to see. The two most dominant players on the planet head to head against one another would be one of the most watched finals since the Larry Bird Magic Johnson era.

It would be a series to determine whether Kobe is still the best or if Lebron has finally surpassed Kobe to take the crown of the world’s top player.

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