After knocking off the Hornets in their first-round, the San Antonio Spurs will have the luxury of playing the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers for a bid in the Final Four. Los Angeles defeated the Spurs in convincing fashion last week, so expect no other outcome. The Lakers will be dancing to the Final Four, and the Spurs will be left without a ticket.
In the other match-up of the West bracket, the Knicks and the Bulls will re-live their epic 90s rivalry. After clashing multiple times for a bid in the NBA Finals, the Knicks and Bulls will once again clash for post-season advancement. Instead of battles between Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, a new wave of superstars will try to cement their legacies. Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony are emerging as great NBA players, and both of them have experience in March Madness. However, the Bulls are an extremely talented team, and their depth will surely overwhelm the Knicks. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls will represent the West in the 2011 Final Four.
In the West bracket, the Boston Celtics will play a familiar foe in the Atlanta Hawks. These two teams played a seven-game series in 2008, and there is no love between them. The Hawks may have improved dramatically since 2008, but they will have trouble winning a game in TD Garden. The Celtics will advance to the next round after a grueling, tight game against the young Hawks.
In the other game of the East Bracket, two youthful teams will battle for a ticket to the Final Four. The Memphis Grizzlies (15) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (7) will be involved in a high-tempo, offensively dominated game. The Grizzlies will be coming off an upset win versus the Dallas Mavericks, and they will play the Thunder with their confidence at an all time high. However, the Thunder’s home crowd will definitely challenge the Grizzlies, much like it did the Lakers in 2010. Kevin Durant will take on his destined leadership role, and he will carry his team to the Final Four.
In the first ever single-elimination tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder will be the four contestants in the Final Four.
Next: Final Four