The 2011 NBA Playoffs are in full swing and boy have they gotten off to a great start. The schedule has featured Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James all demonstrating the value of elite players in the postseason. Each has carried their teams at respective times and Rose has single-handedly lifted the Chicago Bulls to late-game wins three times already with his ability to score against any and all defenders. If you were on the fence about Rose being the MVP, these performances should convince you.
Action was in full swing Thursday night with three games and the NBA Playoff schedule continues on Friday night with three more.
Thursday night's action saw the Miami Heat take a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers behind 32 points from Dwyane Wade. The Chicago Bulls used more late game heroics from Derrick Rose to also go up 3-0 over the Indiana Pacers in that series. Out west, the Portland Trail Blazers used their home court advantage to get a win over the Dallas Mavericks and make their series 2-1 in favor of Dirk Nowitzki's team.
Friday night will feature the first playoff game in years hosted by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden as they try and get back in the series with the Boston Celtics who lead 2-0 in the Round 1 match up. That game is at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The Orlando Magic will travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. The Hawks strategy of not double teaming Dwight Howard has so far led to big nights for the league's best center at a 1-1 tie in the series. Magic shooter, especially former Suns's player Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, need to step up and start making shots.
The final game Friday night takes the Los Angeles Lakers to New Orleans to face the Hornets in a series that many are surprised to find tied 1-1. Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant might not be the young guns anymore, but you better believe these two warriors are going to bring it.