NBA Playoffs: Is Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James Inevitable?

Eastern Conference

1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 8) Chicago Bulls

Center: Shaquille O'Neal/J.J. Hickson vs. Joakim Noah

If Shaq can return and play like he did before his injury, that would be a huge plus. J.J. Hickson has done an admirable job of filling in for him though. It's hard to tell if Shaq will be back to normal.

Whoever starts at center will be pestered to death by the brash Joakim Noah. He's really emerged into a very good player this season.

Slight Edge: Chicago

Power forward: Antawn Jamison vs. Taj Gibson

Jamison was the big name that Cleveland landed at the deadline and this is the time of year they landed him for. Taj Gibson isn't in Jamison's class, but he's showed some promise as a rookie.

Big Edge: Cleveland

Small forward: LeBron James vs. Luol Deng

Nobody in the league can guard LeBron and Deng is no exception. LeBron isn't too shabby of a defender either. Man, this guy is good. I mean really good. 

Big Edge: Cleveland

Shooting guard: Anthony Parker vs. Kirk Hinrich

Hinrich and Parker are both pretty average guards. Hinrich has a defensive advantage though.

Slight Edge: Chicago

Point guard: Mo Williams vs. Derrick Rose

Mo Williams is no pushover, but Derrick Rose is playing like a mad man right now. He's averaged 23 points per game since the All-Star break. Yeah, he's pretty good too.

Slight Edge: Chicago

6th man: Anderso Varejao vs. Brad Miller

Anderson Varejao come off the bench, but plays more than any Cavs big man. He might be the second most important piece to Cleveland's team.

Big Edge: Cleveland

Bench: Big Edge: Cleveland

Coach: Mike Brown vs. Vinny Del Negro

Mike Brown has led his team to the league's best record for two straight seasons (LeBron might have help...

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