NBA Matchup: Atlanta Hawks @ Los Angeles Lakers

Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Lakers Tues. Feb. 22, 2011 10:30 p.m. EST

Before heading into the All-Star break, the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers were really struggling as they had lost the last three games of their road trip. Even though Kobe Bryant and company were able to get the best of the arch rival Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks in consecutive games, they just lost something when they lost to the Orlando Magic which carried over against the Charlotte Bobcats and the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

Obviously, losing to the Magic is no big deal as they are very good team and happen to catch the Lakers fatigued and near the end of their road trip. The loss to the Bobcats was also not much of a surprise as the Lakers have a losing record all-time against Charlotte. For some reason, Kobe and company just struggled when they take on the Bobcats no matter how well Charlotte may be doing at that particular time.

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Ultimately, it was the loss to the Cavs in Cleveland that started to open a lot of people’s eyes. Not only had the Cavs just recently ended their historic losing streak by beating the Los Angeles Clippers, but they are considered to be the worst team in NBA right now with almost no hope for the future.

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant
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With this loss, the speculation that the two-time defending champs no longer have what it takes to compete for another title started to circulate around the league. Fortunately, the Lakers will have a chance to prove their doubters wrong once again as they will take on a very good Atlanta Hawks team on their home floor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday night, the league will see what the Lakers have left as they will be tested against the likes of All-Stars Joe Johnson and Al Horford. The Atlanta Hawks might not be considered to be amongst the elite in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, but they are close and are always a dangerous team.

This game will not only test the Lakers toughness in the paint, but also their ability to guard perimeter players like Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Josh Smith and Al Horford will cause some problems for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the paint, but the key matchup here will be Kobe Bryant on Joe Joe Johnson.

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There has been a lot of talk as of late that Kobe is no longer the best player in the league as the miles he has put on his legs have finally caught up with him, but after putting on a show in the 2011 NBA All-Star game last weekend, the Black Mamba showed that he still might have a few more seasons of dominance left.

As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are pretty heavily favored to come out on top in this one with a -8 point spread, but I believe this will be a fairly close game and taking the Atlanta Hawks at +8 would be the best bet.

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NBA Playoff Preview: Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

The Atlanta Hawks had all they could handle against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs as Brandon Jennings and company were able to take them the full seven games, but round two will be a seriously tough uphill battle against the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.

The Orlando Magic on the other hand had it pretty easy is in the first round as they were able to pull off the sweep and knock out the Charlotte Bobcats in just four games. The Bobcats were able to make it to the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s history, but they just didn’t stand a chance against a more experienced and a very talented Magic squad led by superstar center Dwight Howard.

Heading into the second round of the NBA playoffs, these two Southeast division rivals have a lot of experience playing against one another, which could make for a very competitive series.
During the regular NBA season, the Orlando Magic dominated their season series with the Atlanta Hawks as they were able to get the best of Joe Johnson and company three out of the four times.

This season the Atlanta Hawks have been able to take it to another level as they have gone from just another good team in the league to great team. Not only have Al Horford, Josh Smith and All-Star Joe Johnson matured considerably over the past season, but they also benefited from the addition of Jamal Crawford off the bench.

The one thing that the Atlanta Hawks have been sorely lacking over the past is a legitimate closer/scorer, who could help put up the points when the team needs it the most. With Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, the Hawks got their closer and dominant scorer and he has been just that for this team all season long.

Despite coming into their first round playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks as the overwhelming favorites, the up and coming Bucks led by rookie point guard Brandon Jennings were able to put the fear of another early round exit into Hawks.

Over the past couple of seasons, the Atlanta Hawks have been no stranger to playing in a playoff series that goes a full seven games. Two years ago they took the Boston Celtics to the limit in seven games and last season they went the distance with the Miami Heat, but this time around they were facing a young team will almost no playoff experience and were still taken to seven games.

Fortunately, Joe Johnson and company just dominated in game seven and were able to advance to the second round against the Orlando Magic.

In my opinion, the Orlando Magic are by far the better team coming into this series as they outmatch the Atlanta Hawks in every which way and at all positions.

The one match up that will be intriguing coming into this playoff series will be the Atlanta Hawks frontcourt trying to contain Dwight Howard in the paint. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford will be a handful for the Magic to handle, but in the end the Defensive Player of the Year will be the difference.

Series Prediction: 4-2 Orlando Magic

Can the Milwaukee Bucks give the Atlanta Hawks a run for their money?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

Heading into the NBA playoffs there were a lot of intriguing matchups, but in my opinion the most intriguing of all the matchups in the Eastern Conference was the up and coming Milwaukee Bucks going head to head against the Atlanta Hawks.

Over the last few years, the Atlanta Hawks have gone from just another good team in the league to a possible title contender. With All-Star guard Joe Johnson, defensive beast Josh Smith and arguably the best sixth man in the league in sharp shooting Jamal Crawford, the Hawks have quickly been able to create some much needed team chemistry and a winning combination in Atlanta.

As for the Milwaukee Bucks, they have had arguably their most successful season in quite some time with some star players emerging to lead the struggling franchise in the future.

No player has had more of an impact for the Milwaukee Bucks this season than rookie point guard Brandon Jennings. Before Jennings was drafted by the Bucks in last year’s draft, the lightening quick point guard had to play in Italy in order to prepare for the NBA as he hadn’t reached to the age requirement just yet.

There was a lot of speculation on whether or not Jennings could be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA, but this season he is proved that he is exactly that with his dynamic scoring ability and veteran like leadership.

As a result of Brandon Jennings’ success in his rookie season, the Bucks have reemerged as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Not only was Jennings’ contribution to the team huge to say the least, but he also had some help in the form of center Andrew Bogut and the newly acquired John Salmons from the Chicago Bulls.

Even though Brandon Jennings has gotten most of the credit for the Milwaukee Bucks impressive season, both Bogut and Salmons have had arguably their best seasons of their NBA career and have helped turn the franchise around.

When the Bucks were set to face the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, Atlanta was the clear favorite to advance, but Milwaukee was not going to back down as they had every intention to give them a run for their money.

Unfortunately, the first two games of the series ended in two straight losses for the Milwaukee Bucks, but in game three they were able to get on the board with a convincing 18 point victory 107-89.

Even though the Atlanta Hawks are still favored to win this series, the Bucks will have a chance to even up the series in game four on their home floor before heading back to Atlanta.

The key to the game three victory for the Bucks was the inspired play of John Salmons who scored a team high 22 points and dished out seven assists. Not only was Salmons finally able to get going in this series against the Hawks, but he shot an impressive nine for 11 from the floor.

If Salmons can keep up this kind of production and Brandon Jennings can get going like he did in game one, the Milwaukee Bucks have a great chance of making this a competitive series and possibly pulling off the unlikely upset.

NBA Playoff Previews – Eastern Conference

Staff Writer: Jeremiah Ira Yap

Cleveland Cavaliers vs (8) Chicago Bulls

Wow, the Cavs already won Game 1 without much of a hiccup. Stop the presses. Is this surprising to you? Well, it shouldn’t be. The Cavs played great with Shaq back in the lineup. O’Neal looked like he didn’t miss a beat after sitting out most of the second half of the season. His performance was reminiscent of the Shaq of old rather than old Shaq.
The testy but valiant Bulls may actually catch the Cavs asleep and steal a game but that seems like wishful thinking. Did you see how focused LeBron James was? He finally has the fire in his belly to compete for a championship. James learned a thing or two from Kobe Bryant during the Redeem Team’s Olympic run – talent isn’t everything, it’s inner drive that makes you a great basketball player and wins you championships.

Confidence will not be enough for the Chicago Bulls. Cavs advance to the second round in four games.

Orlando Magic vs (7) Charlotte Bobcats

This is probably the most intriguing match-up in the playoffs. The versatility of the Bobcats against the new look, but still motivated Magic. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis against defensive minded Gerald Wallace and the unpredictable Stephen Jackson. With so much focus on how Vince Carter will perform in the playoffs, the Magic’s real key to success is Jameer Nelson. Nelson wasn’t close to a hundred percent in the Finals against the Lakers, this year he’ll get the chance to prove how valuable he is to Orlando’s title hopes. He needs to attack the rim and hit his threes, similar to what Rafer Alston did for the Magic last year.

Orlando is a deeper team with Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, Jason Williams, Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat as their bench players. They also have bigger and more athletic players – expect them to outmuscle Charlotte in the paint. Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown will keep things interesting, but his team lacks the fouls to use on Dwight Howard.

Dwight Howard’s size in the middle will be too much for Charlotte. The Magic advance to the second round in six games.

Atlanta Hawks vs (6) Milwaukee Bucks

The Hawks came out the gate and blitzed the undermanned Bucks in the first half – they scored 62 points and held the Bucks to 40 points. A ton of blocks and defensive stops paved way for the Hawks fast break points.

Atlanta’s first half performance was nearly perfect, but they almost wasted it with a lackluster second outing. The Bucks outscored the Hawks 52 to 40 in the second half. Rookie Brandon Jennings carried most of the scoring load with Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd suffering season ending injuries. Jennings scored 34 points and there was not one Hawk who could guard him. Jennings may have to score 55 points again for the Hawks to even have a chance in the series.

Jamal Crawford scored 17 points in his playoff debut. All five of the Hawks starters scored in double digits.

The Hawks inability to close out opponents almost haunted them in Game 1. The Bucks might actually steal a game before succumbing to the deeper and more talented Hawks. Hawks in five games.

Boston Celtics vs (5) Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade had a great game against the Celtics in Game 1 of their playoff series. He scored 26 points on 11 of 18 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists. Despite throwing the ball away seven times, he was efficient both ways of the floor. That’s the main problem why the Heat lost. Only Wade had a great game. Quentin Richardson was the other Heat player who scored in double figures. Miami’s other starters, Carlos Arroyo, Jermaine O’Neal and Michael Beasley combined to make nine of their 27 shots for 20 points.

If I were D-Wade, I’d already be asking if LeBron James is willing to go to New York with me. Miami has failed to surround Wade with the supporting cast he has been asking for all season. If Miami gets swept, there’s no doubt that Wade will bolt to another team this summer.

Kevin Garnett scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and threw one elbow that hit Richardson’s jaw. Things got chippy after Paul Pierce fell in front of the Miami bench. Richardson stood directly above Pierce and Garnett took it as disrespect.

With Wade doing everything for Miami except the laundry, the Celtics will likely wear him down in a seven game series. O’Neal and Beasley will have two big games to keep Miami from getting swept. Other than that, the Celtics will beat Miami in six games and win their last playoff series with the Big Three.

NBA Playoff Preview: Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

There are a lot of intriguing matchups coming into the NBA playoffs the season and it looks like we’ll be on our way to another entertaining postseason with a spectacular ending, but in the meantime need to figure look at the first round matchups and see who will be advancing to the next round.

Personally, I believe the first round matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks is a possible seven game series and arguably the most even matchup of all eight in the first go round.

Some people are saying it is the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets though be the most even matchup and a possible seven game series, but I really think that the Bucks will give the Hawks a run for their money as no one expects Milwaukee to do much in the postseason and they have the talent to do it.

There were a lot of deals that went down before the NBA trade deadline on February 18th earlier this season, but the one deal that has seemed to pay off more than any other deal made by any team in the league has been the Milwaukee Bucks getting John Salmons from the Chicago Bulls.

A lot of attention has been paid to rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, deservedly so, but Salmons should get a lot of credit for the Milwaukee Bucks being playoff bound and success in the second half of the season.

Along with Brandon Jennings and John Salmons, the Milwaukee Bucks also have All-Star caliber center Andrew Bogut who has had somewhat of a breakout season this year and has gone relatively unnoticed due to success of the rookie point guard.

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Bucks will have to do without their All-Star caliber center in Andrew Bogut as he is struggling with an elbow injury and his playing status is uncertain, but doubtful.

Without Andrew Bogut in the lineup for the Milwaukee Bucks, I believe the Atlanta Hawks will have the edge in the paint and a might just be enough to have Joe Johnson and company advanced to the second round.

The one matchup both this first-round playoff series that will be more intriguing than any it is how well Brandon Jennings plays and how the Atlanta Hawks guard him.

Personally, I don’t think anybody on the Atlanta Hawks can guard Brandon Jennings and if he gets hot or turns it on in the playoffs, the Hawks could be in trouble as Jennings has been known to light up the scoreboards if given the chance.

Earlier in the NBA regular season Brandon Jennings put on a show against the Golden State Warriors by scoring 55 points against Stephen Curry and company and officially putting him on the NBA map as one of the most promising young players in this game.

Ultimately though, the Atlanta Hawks are the better all around team as they have the veterans and most importantly the defense to win this series.

Series Prediction: 4-2 Atlanta Hawks

Best first round matchup in the NBA playoffs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

The NBA regular season is officially in the books and the playoffs are just around the corner with all the first round matchups set and the 16 teams left ready to compete for an NBA title.

As always, there are a lot of intriguing matchups in the first round of playoffs, but there are a few that are better than others and one particular to keep your eye on as they could be a possible seven game series and one for the history books.

Last season we saw the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls battle it out in a first-round matchup for the ages as needed team was backing down an overtime game was something that became common.

Ultimately, the Boston Celtics were able to advance, but not without a fierce fight from the young and upcoming Chicago Bulls as Derrick Rose and company were able to extend the series to a full seven games.

Now that the dust has settled and we could reflect on this classic first round series between the Bulls and Celtics, many people believe that it is one of the best playoffs series of all-time. Another might not be a massive in the first round of this year’s playoffs but come close to that kind of competitive battle, I believe the first round matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks could be one to keep your eye this time around.

This season has been a surprisingly good one for both of these teams as they have exceeded expectations and headed into the playoffs with a lot of momentum and high hopes for the future.

Over the past couple of seasons the Atlanta Hawks have been a team on the rise, but I seriously lack experience were leadership to advance in the playoffs. This season things have changed as the team is finally come into its own and has become just as good on offense as it is on defense. Not only have the Atlanta Hawks become a possible title contender this season, but they have also found go to guy when games on the line in sixth man Jamal Crawford.

In the past, the Atlanta Hawks usually look to Joe Johnson is the guy to go to when the game is on the line and even though Johnson is still a viable option, Crawford has been the man for the Hawks this season.

Much like the Atlanta Hawks, the Milwaukee Bucks have seen somewhat of a resurgence this year and become a legitimate force to be reckoned with in the Eastern conference led by rookie point guard Brandon Jennings.

Coming into this season it was thought to be just another year chemistry building and a feeling out process for their gamble on Brandon Jennings who played overseas last year due to ineligibility to enter the draft because of his age.

Fortunately, the gamble has paid off and it seems like a passing of the porch is gone from Michael Redd to Brandon Jennings as the young kid in the backcourt has become the official face of the franchise.

The only thing the Bucks will be missing in this playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks is the All-Star caliber shooting guard Michael Redd who went down earlier this season with yet another serious knee injury.

Even without Redd in the lineup, the Milwaukee Bucks have played brilliantly the second half of the season and are the team that I believe will really shocked some people in the playoffs!

What’s the key to the Thunder’s sudden resurgence?

Ryan Ward - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

The Thunder will make their first playoff appearance in its young existence. Oklahoma City is currently the sixth seed in the west but are locked in a three-way battle with the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. Well, it doesn’t really matter what seed they will end up in because the Thunder are young, athletic and skilled, which makes them a very dangerous first-round opponent.

Obviously, their success can be attributed by the sudden explosion of Kevin Durant. Durant went from rising star last season to an MVP candidate. He will likely win his first scoring title this season. Forward Jeff Green is averaging 15 points a ball game and Russell Westbrook is having a career year. These three young guns are a big reason why the Thunder find themselves in the playoffs.

It’s their offense that gets a lot of recognition, but its actually the Thunder’s defense which makes them dangerous. The Thunder allows only 97.6 points a game, which is good enough for 11th in the league. There’s not one individual on Oklahoma City that is a great defender. But as a team the Thunder are a cohesive, effective defensive unit.

Against the highest scoring team in the league, the Phoenix Suns, the Thunder held them to their lowest scoring output in the second half – the Suns scored only 34 points. The young Oklahoma City Thunder also held the Suns under 100 points. Two-time MVP Steve Nash and All-star Amar’e Stoudemire were forced into committing five combined turnovers.

All you need to know about what the Thunder defense did to the Suns offense is this: the Suns shot 58 percent in first and second quarters. After that, Phoenix shot only 31 percent. Durant and Green had seven steals – amazing considering they are both forwards.

This years Thunder reminds us much of last seasons Portland Trail Blazers. Exciting crowd, budding superstar in Durant (in the Blazers case Brandon Roy), and a core group of young talented guys. All of this resulted in first-round fodder.

Durant, in particular, had no turnovers on his way to scoring 35 points. It’s been a joy to watch Durant this season. There are already talks that is he the second best player in the league – yes, in front of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard. This statement might be a reach considering Durant has played at this level for only one season. Plus, greatness can’t be measured during the season, it is seen where it counts – in the playoffs.

Durant and the Thunder will get the opportunity to prove exactly that as they make their first playoff appearance in history.

Will Joe Johnson return to the Atlanta Hawks?

Ryan Ward - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

With all the big-name NBA free agents becoming available this summer like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, lot of other free agents have flown underneath the radar, but could be the vital piece to an NBA franchise as they try and become a title contender.

The one player that hasn’t done any recognition this season as a big name free agent is the Atlanta Hawks Joe Johnson. Now Johnson might not be a scoring machine like LeBron or Wade, please definitely a primetime player in a huge upgrade at guard for the majority of teams around league.

There’s no question that the Atlanta Hawks will do all they can do to keep arguably the best all-around player on the team, but if the Hawks don’t go out of their way to sign head coach Mike Woodson to an extension Joe Johnson will almost certainly be on his way out and looking at teams like the New York Knicks as his destination.

There’s been a lot of speculation around the league on what players will go and what direction this summer as there will be plenty of options for many of these big-name players when they become available to the highest bidder.

Obviously the one player getting all the attention when free agency is talked about the season has been the Cleveland Cavaliers MVP candidate LeBron James. King James will be courted by a number of teams this summer, but the one team really going after arguably the best player in the league is the New York Knicks in one of the key pieces to get LeBron in the Big Apple is Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks.

It’s no secret and common sense that a player of LeBron James caliber would love to play alongside another great player like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire, but for some reason he believes that Joe Johnson would be a great addition to any team he might player next season.

Personally, I believe Amare Stoudemire would be the best fit to play alongside LeBron James, but I can see the logic in a Joe Johnson being the best candidate as the LeBron’s teammate because the Hawks guard has no ego, doesn’t demand the ball and is amongst the league’s best at his position.

There’s no telling what will happen this summer as has been no indication from any big-name player in what they intended to do, but the one player that does seem to be on his way out is Joe Johnson and it will be interesting to see how where Johnson lands will change the destination of other big-name free agents when they become available.

Until then, speculation will run rampant throughout the league as we get into the playoffs in all sorts storyline starts to come about. One thing is for certain though this free agent market will almost certainly change the face of the NBA for the foreseeable future and we could see some of the worst teams in the league become title contenders.

Possible NBA Playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

The NBA regular season is quickly coming to an end with less than 15 games left for most of the teams around the league. With the regular season ending all the playoff bound teams in the NBA are either trying to hold on their seeds or improve their position before the postseason.

Here are how things shape up in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs were to start today:

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #8 Toronto Raptors

It would be hard to argue that the Cavs aren’t the best team in the league right now. LeBron James and company have the best record in the league and will almost certainly head into the playoffs that way, but the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers might be able to close the gap if Cleveland begins to struggle.

Right now the Cavs are red hot and riding high as LeBron James is on his way to winning his second straight NBA MVP and Cleveland is gearing up for what might be a championship run in the playoffs.

There first opponent will more than likely be the Toronto Raptors who have played well at times this season, but won’t be able to put much of fight against LeBron James and company.

The health of Shaq and Antawn Jamison will determine the outcome of this series. I really can’t see Chris Bosh and company being much of a challenge, but if Shaq and Jamison aren’t 100%, Bosh might have a good series.

Series Prediction: 4-1 Cleveland Cavaliers

#2 Orlando Magic vs. #7 Charlotte Bobcats

The defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic are poised to make another run at an NBA title this season as they will come into the postseason with a lot of confidence knowing they dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers last season in the playoffs.

Before the Cavs and Magic face off, they will have to contend with the up and coming Charlotte Bobcats in the first round. The Bobcats, like the Magic, could give the Cavs a run for their money if they meet in the playoffs, but I am not sure they will be able to compete with Dwight Howard and company.

The Magic will have the edge in the paint and on the perimeter which means they could quite possibly sweep the Bobcats in four games.

Series Prediction: 4-0 Orlando Magic

#3 Boston Celtics vs. #6 Miami Heat

The Boston Celtics aren’t getting any younger and this season was a big indication of that as they struggled with injuries to their big three (KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen), but they saw Rajon Rondo get even better as it has become more and more apparent that the Celtics will be his team in the near future.

Despite not being the dominant team we remember from a couple of seasons ago, Boston can still hang with the best of them and will almost certainly advance to the second round of the playoffs.

The Miami Heat will come into this series once again trying to prove they can play with the big boys in the East, but even though they have Dwyane Wade, who will be a matchup nightmare for the Celtics, the Heat still have a ways to go before they can become a title contender once again.

Series Prediction: 4-2 Boston Celtics

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Milwaukee Bucks

I believe the series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks will be the most intriguing of all in the Eastern Conference as both of these teams are young squads on the rise!

The Hawks have the better all around team with a more polished game plan and chemistry, but the Bucks have Brandon Jennings who could very well be a wildcard in the playoffs as he is explosive and unpredictable. With Jennings on the floor, anything can happen, but in the end I believe the Hawks experience outweighs the Bucks talent.

Series Prediction: 4-3 Atlanta Hawks

Who can beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

It would be hard to argue that the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t the best all around team in the Eastern Conference this season. All aspects of their game are top notch right now and oh yeah, they have LeBron James leading the way!

Over the past couple of seasons the Cleveland Cavaliers have had more success than ever as they have continued to dominate the competition and go into the playoffs as the odds on favorite to make it to be the team in the Eastern Conference to make it to the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, no matter how well the Cleveland Cavaliers play in the regular season, they can’t seem to take that success into the playoffs and win that elusive NBA title.

Obviously this kind of bad luck this is a great team with a player like LeBron James will not continue on forever. Many great players in the past like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing have not been able to win NBA titles even with a great teams they play on, but I believe that LeBron James will go down in NBA history as one of the best players ever to play this game and up there with the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

This season my very well be the season that the Cleveland Cavaliers finally win that elusive NBA title, but they will definitely have their work cut out for them as or quite few teams in their path that are worthy of being able to knock off LeBron James and company.

Here is a list of the teams with the best chance of being able to upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs this season:

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are no longer the dominant team that we saw in 2008 who were able to convincingly beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Even back in 2008, the Celtics were a team with a lot of experience but also a lot of age as many of their players on the downside of a career no longer the prime.

Even though players like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce might not be young bucks anymore, they are still one of the best teams in the NBA and can compete with anybody when the plane a high level.

Despite not being the team that just destroyed their opponents in 2008, I believe the Celtics could get the best of the Cavs if they can get some wins in Cleveland in a seven-game series, but in the end LeBron James and company will get the best of the aging Celtics.

Atlanta Hawks

Even though the Atlanta Hawks will get much credit, this season if completely turn around their franchise as they have gone from a perennial playoff team to a possible title contender in the Eastern conference.

Unlike some of the other teams in the East, the Hawks are young and up and coming team with a lot of passion and desire to prove to everyone that they can play and beat the best of the best in the NBA.

With that being said, in the playoffs this time around they will have no intentions of going home early and will upset someone, but who is yet to be seen.

I believe Joe Johnson and his squad can hang with the Cavs and have the potential to beat them in the seven-game series, but with veteran players like Antawn Jamison and Shaq I can’t see them beating Cleveland.

Orlando Magic

if there is any team on this list that can truly beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game series it is the Orlando Magic as they have been once before, in convincing fashion, and could quite possibly do again if they are given the opportunity.

Dwight Howard is on top this game in Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis are great complementary players that might be enough to put them over the top in a series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Personally, if I had to bet on it, I would take Stan Van Gundy’s squad to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs for a second straight season.