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NBA Playoffs

After 5 games into what was originally referred to as the semi-final round of the NBA playoffs, there is another title which can be given to this stage of the postseason: A Tale of Two Series.

With one team dominating its counterpart and the other pairing being tied after two games, there is an underlying contrast to how basketball is being played on either side of the country.

In the Eastern Conference we have a battle of two teams that almost everyone predicted would be squaring off in the semi-finals and a hard-fought series that is tied at a game apiece. In one corner, we have the #1 team in the NBA and the defending champions the Miami Heat, and the Indiana Pacers, the team looking to knock them off the pedestal.

Out West, it’s the San Antonio Spurs, a team that finished second overall during the regular season in the Western Conference has a commanding 3-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs have been considered too old for pretty much the last decade but are still finding plenty of ways to win.

NBA Playoffs

So, what makes these two matchups so completely different?

Looking at the makeup of all four teams, it’s easy to see how each pairing is similar – presumably the main reason for all of them reaching this point of postseason play.

The Spurs and Grizzlies are balanced teams – shooters, talented big men and dangerous point guards.

The Heat and Pacers are explosive teams – star talent combined with tenacious defense.

Breaking it down like this shows the simple comparisons that can be made, but also why these two different series have turned out as they have.

Simply put, San Antonio’s version of the balanced team is better. The Spurs have so many weapons capable of scoring on one end of the floor, then hustling back and stopping their opponents from scoring on the other end.

The Heat, with all their incredibly talented players are far from perfect. What they lack is exactly what Indiana possesses: a true and skilled big man to dominate the post. Indiana’s Roy Hibbert was crucial in helping the Pacers keep game 1 excruciatingly close throughout, and for pulling out the win in game 2. If the Heat manage to execute as they did during the regular season – being able to destroy opponents with their fast-paced attack and use of their group of future Hall of Famers, they will be able to come out on top.

Seeing as how the Eastern Conference matchup could now go either way, both teams will have to figure out a way to overcome what has until this point made the series a war of attrition.

If the Grizzlies are to pull of the (seemingly) impossible, they will have to find a way to shut down the San Antonio scorers and use their strong players to bully their way to the basket.

While both of the remaining series feature rather different groups of teams, one thing is for sure: all four clubs are providing some excellent basketball. No one would tune in to games featuring blowouts every night or teams that didn’t have any star talent on their rosters. It’s playoff series such as these that keep the fans coming back.

So while it may be a tale of two series, there will only be one series that matters – and once the Finals roll around, the excitement will be sky high.