The 2006 NBA playoffs are off and running this year with many potential surprises on the way. The regular season is over, with the number one Detroit Pistons facing the number eight Milwaukee Bucks in the eastern conference. Other match-ups in the eastern conference are the Chicago Bulls against the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers versus the New Jersey Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers squaring off against the Washington Wizards. The eastern conference is having some tough series. So far nobody is going to be swept in a series with the Bucks grabbing a win against the Pistons after being down a few games. The rest of the teams have been tied up and time will tell who will advance into the semi-finals for the conference.
Last year's champions, the San Antonio Spurs, were number one in the western conference this year and are squaring off with the Sacramento Kings. Other series match-ups include the Phoenix Suns versus the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets against the surprising Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzles playing the Dallas Mavericks. The San Antonio Spurs are not looking nearly as sharp as they were looking in last year's playoffs. With Dallas Mavericks looking better than ever so far, they might become troublesome for the Spurs if they can beat the Kings. The Kings are not pushovers and proved that by coming off two straight losses and winning two straight games to even up the series.
Many of the seasonal awards have been announced with coach of the year being Avery Johnson of the Dallas Mavericks. Other awards announced were the sixth man of the year, which was taken by Memphis Grizzlies' guard Mike Miller, who scored nearly fourteen points a game off the bench this year. Boris Diaw won the honors of most improved player this year with his much-improved season with the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets is going to be taking rookie of the year honors this year, no question. Los Angeles Clippers forward Elton Brand received the Sportsmanship award and Minnesota Timberwolves star player Kevin Garnett took the Kennedy Citizenship award.
Most people believe the Detroit Pistons will undoubtedly make it to the NBA finals this year once again. They are the number one choice for winning the trophy after having a record-breaking season, winning 64 games and only losing 18. This would be the Pistons' third time in a row making it to the NBA playoff finals. Their bench players seem to be better than the line-up of players last year. They have newcomers Maurice Evans and veteran Tony Delk on their roster now. Tony Delk has been a big spark off the bench for the Pistons since he was signed as a free agent on March 1st.
A large quantity of games is being aired on TNT and ESPN, so check you local listings to for the dates and times of the playoff games. You can get complete coverage of the playoffs on NBA TV as well as NBA.com..Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Sports.
By: Michael Russell