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2011 NBA Playoffs: First Round Matchups

We all know that the Dallas Mavericks earned the third seed in the Western Conference after tying Los Angeles with a 57-25 record for the second seed, but losing via tiebreaker - which was a division title. OK, well, if you didn't know that, you know that now. The Mavs are taking on the sixth seeded Portland Trailblazers, and that series kicks off tomorrow night in Dallas.

There are seven other first round matchups though, and some of them look like they'll be pretty interesting. In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Chicago Bulls take on the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat take on the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics play the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic take on the Atlanta Hawks in the four-five matchup. 

Of these first round matchups in the East, the 3/6 and 4/5 series look to be the most interesting easily. The Heat and Bulls should breeze right through, and the Celtics probably will too. It'll probably be overblown given that it's Boston vs. New York, but, the Celtics haven't looked good lately and who knows? Maybe the Carmelo Anthony trade will pay playoff dividends. 

The Western Conference matchups are after the jump.

The Spurs clinched the top seed in December, right? Something like that. They'll take on the Memphis Grizzles, while the Los Angeles Lakers have a first round date against the New Orleans Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Denver Nuggets

I'm sure all Mavs fans are rooting for the Grizzles, Hornets and Nuggets to advance, but it's sadly not terribly likely. Let's just hope Dallas advances out of the first round and can take care of business against Portland.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.