Top Five: NBA series likely to go six or seven games

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,Craig Stouffer
Five of the eight first-round NBA playoff series are 3-1. Four of them will play Game 5 on Tuesday, the other on Wednesday. Which matchup has the best chance of going to six or seven games?

5. Lakers vs. Nuggets (Los Angeles leads 3-1) » Denver never led in either of the first two games at Staples Center, and now Kobe Bryant is beginning to trust and hug his teammates. The rest of the NBA is officially on notice, and only the Nuggets are going back to Denver.

4. Heat vs. Knicks (Miami leads 3-1) » Miami was sluggish early in Game 3 and couldn't finish in Game 4. An ability to do both at home in Game 5 will trump the desperation of the Knicks, who got a miraculous return from Amare Stoudemire but then lost starting point guard Baron Davis.

3. Pacers vs. Magic (Indiana leads 3-1) » Stan Van Gundy has gotten as much out of his Orlando roster as possible, a reminder that there are some nice pieces, even with Dwight Howard out. But the only question left is will Howard and/or Van Gundy be there next year?

2. Celtics vs. Hawks (Boston leads 3-1) »

With the way Atlanta wilted in Game 4, Boston should roll. But the Celtics' injuries are mounting, which could make them desperate to end the series as quickly as possible. A win Tuesday with Al Horford on the court again could reinvigorate the Hawks.

1. 76ers vs. Bulls (Philadelphia leads 3-1) » Philadelphia hasn't been able to pull away from Chicago, even with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah both sidelined by injuries. Back at home, the always intense Bulls won't go down easily and won't surprise anyone if they extend this series.

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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