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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Three NBA Playoff Series To Be Decided In Game 7

Sports Column/Opinion
By Scott McLean

What an unbelievable NBA playoffs this has been so far!

Three out of the four conference semi-final series will be decided in Game 7.

Who knows, maybe one or more series will come down to the final shot of the game. That would be wild!

Now it's time for me to admit I underestimated the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James is quickly turning Cleveland into a contender.

The Detroit Pistons have really struggled to contain Le Bron. Let's also give some credit to the good defense played by the Cavaliers.

The Pistons found some way to win Game 6 in Cleveland, and thanks to the homecourt advantage, they will be able to play the deciding Game 7 in front of their fans.

Can Le Bron pull off the heroics and the biggest upset of the year by leading the Cavaliers past the Pistons? Or will the Pistons show why they had the best record of the regular season?

My guess is the Pistons will be hard to beat at home, but Cleveland eliminate Detroit if Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton are unable to make jump shots.

And then there's the series I said would take seven games to decide: San Antonio vs. Dallas . Sorry to say, somebody will be done after Game 7.

The Mavericks have become a great team, good enough to have a 3-games-to-1 lead over the Spurs, but the lead just slipped away.

Like the Pistons, the Spurs have the conference homecourt advantage, which could be the difference in this series.

For Dallas to win, they will need huge performances from their shooters. San Antonio must play tough, physical defense and not leave the Mavericks wide open for lots of three-pointers.

The other Western Conference series which is hard to figure out is Phoenix vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before the series began, I said this would happen. But I didn't know the Clippers would be this competitive. Yes, Clippers fans, your team is good.

Elton Brand has dominated inside for the Clippers, and the Suns don't have a way to stop him. Together, Brand and Chris Kaman are making life tough on the smaller Suns, a team that doesn't defend well especially around the basket.

However, the Suns are playing at home, and have a good chance to win if they are shooting the ball well.

Shawn Marion has some impressive performances this postseason. He could be the go-to guy in the fourth quarter, when the Suns are looking for a clutch basket.

Of course, two-time MVP Steve Nash might make the clutch basket or pass. Brand, Sam Cassell or another Clipper may also make huge baskets near the end of the game.

Whatever happens, I'm just hoping for more of the same spectacular basketball.

I'll stick with my picks of the Suns, Spurs and Pistons, but any of these three games could go either way.

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