Sunny With a Chance of Slam Dunks: Looking Ahead in the NBA Playoffs

As the buzzer sounded at Philips Arena in Atlanta and ABC announcer Mike Tirico announced assurantily that the Atlanta Hawks had taken the series with a Game Seven win over the surging Bucks, the first round of the NBA Playoffs officially came to an end.

It seemed like nothing came easy in a wild first round, with the exception of a routine sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats by the Orlando Magic.

In the West, the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs took down Dallas in six games. Fourth seed Denver was toppled by Deron Williams and Utah. Oklahoma City rose to the occasion multiple times, scaring the defending champion Lakers and almost forcing a seventh game if it weren't for a Pau Gasol tip-in with 0.5 seconds left.

In the East, the Cavs, Magic, and Celtics had no problems with their first round opponents, toppling Chicago and Charlotte, respectively. While they cruised, Atlanta struggled to overcome the over-achieving Milwaukee Bucks. Coining the chant, "Fear the Deer!", the Bucks and their fans took three straight games to take a 3-2 series lead, but Atlanta won the final two and advanced.

With the first round over, here is a look at each of the remaining eight teams' futures in the NBA Playoffs.

1 Los Angeles Lakers

For this experienced bunch, they expect the second round to be just a part of the beginning. But after playing a sub-par Game Three and an abysmal Game Four in Oklahoma City, it looks like they will have struggles on the road. That's never a good thing in the Playoffs, especially when your second round opponent is Utah. The Jazz's home, EnergySolutions Arena, is a madhouse full of screaming fanatics. If Utah can take one of the first two in LA, an upset is very tangible.

But the Lakers still have the clutchest player in the game in Kobe Bryant. With the game on the line in Game Six, he repeatedly silenced the Thunder fans with clutch trays. Andrew Bynum was dominant...

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