Analysis: If the Cleveland Cavs were destined to win a championship, this would be the season to finish what they started. LeBron James and company have jammed down on the accelerator for 82 games and need to continue to apply that pressure to every team they face if they want to reach the NBA Finals. Cavs'' owner Dan Gilbert spent the money to bring the remaining pieces of the playoff puzzle to Cleveland. Shaquille O''Neal, though hurt now, will return to join forces with Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison, the other two fresh faces in the Cavs postseason line-up. From the perimeter Mo'' Williams and Delonte West will continue to carry the load with Daniel Gibson acting as their long range threat. The X-factor in this post-season remains Anderson Varejao, but don''t discredit the contributions of Jawad Williams and J.J. Hickson who have proved themselves throughout the course of the season as viable options off the bench.
Analysis: How the Portland Trail Blazers made it to this juncture of the season is a miracle in itself. No team in the NBA endured as many bumps and bruises as Portland. The latest is Brandon Roy''s knee injury that could force him to miss the entire playoffs. (See how Whatifsports.com's computers predicted a Blazers' trip to the NBA Finals.) When you add that to the extended absences throughout the season by Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, and the season-ending injuries suffered by big men Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, the Blazers are a playoff anomaly. Yet through all the adversity, Rip City is still is playing in the spring. After an initial adjustment period, offseason acquisition Andre Miller has paid dividends, averaging 14 points and 5.5 assists off the bench. A mid-season trade for Marcus Camby helped replace the loss of Oden and Przybilla, with Camby chipping in 7 points and 11 rebounds a game.
Player of the series: Cavs - LeBron James (29.9 ppg, 12 rpg, 8 apg)
Chances of Winning NBA Finals: Cavs 31.7% - Blazers 16.0%