The NBA Playoff schedule today features three games with two of the series at the brink of elimination and the Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly tied 2-2. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were expected to steam roll Chris Paul's New Orleans Hornets team who is missing David West. That didn't happen thanks mostly to Paul's individual brilliance which has out-shined anything Kobe could muster (so far). Derrick Rose will try and push his team to the next round while Dwight Howard is leading his team's fight for playoff survival.
The Orlando Magic return home down 3-1 in their series against the Atlanta Hawks. Dwight Howard's inside dominance against single coverage hasn't been enough as the Magic guards and wings lack the defensive talent to slow down Hawk's threats Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. This game starts at 4:30 p.m. Arizona time on NBA TV.
Derrick Rose is expected to play despite an ankle sprain. The question the Chicago Bulls have to answer is if the rest of their guys can step up and not put the game in a position where Rose has to be the fourth quarter hero again. Carlos Boozer needs to play better or the Bulls should consider going back to Taj Gibson. The Pacers have shown plenty of fight but are simply out-matched by the Bulls. It's only a matter of time for Indiana down 3-1 in the series. Game tips at 5:00 p.m. Arizona time on TNT.
The Los Angeles Lakers return to Staple Center tied 2-2 in their series with the New Orleans Hornets for a game that starts at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time on TNT. Kobe Bryant is expected to play despite his ankle sprain but the bigger concern for the Lakers is slowing down Chris Paul. Paul put up a brilliant triple-double in Game 4 and has torched Los Angeles in this series. LA's inability to defend point guards continues to be their biggest weakness.