How have the top contingent fared in the opening games of the Playoffs?
As the top seeds in the NBA prepare to hit the road in their opening round Playoffs series, they have had a mixed set of results with some happier than others.
The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder have both protected their home court advantage thus far, storming to 2-0 leads against the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets respectively.
However, while the Heat have looked relatively comfortable in both their games, James Harden showed in Game 2 on Wednesday night that he is more than capable of providing his former team-mates with a scare or two as the series moves to Houston.
It has been a similar case for both the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, with both showing that they have too much firepower for their Eastern rivals to handle.
While the Knicks have successfully shut-down the Boston Celtics in the second-half of both their meetings so far, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have provided the spark at the offensive end to ease fears prior to the post-season over whether they could handle the pressure.
It will be interesting to see whether they can continue their momentum in Boston, with a raucous home crowd likely to make it an intimidating atmosphere at the TD Garden.
The same could be said for the Pacers, who have a woeful record on the road in Atlanta. Paul George has been unfazed by the play-off expectations on his shoulders to this point, but will be truly tested when Indiana hit the road.
It hasn’t been quite as straight forward for the Brooklyn Nets though, in perhaps the most intriguing and closely matched clash in the Eastern Conference and arguably in the entire play-offs.
Despite the on-going absence of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah playing through the pain barrier, the Chicago Bulls asserted themselves well in Game 2 at the Barclays Center to take the series home at 1-1.
The Nets had big production from Deron Williams in the opening game, and coupled with the electric atmosphere at their first ever play-off game they were too much for Chicago. However, displaying the trademark of a Tom Thibodeau team, the Bulls fought back with a solid defensive effort to tie things up and will be confident of taking the series lead at the United Center.
Over in the West, the Golden State Warriors surprised everyone with their win in Denver to tie the series, as the Nuggets were defeated at home for the first time in months.
Despite the season-ending injury suffered by David Lee, the Warriors have arguably the best shooter in the game in Stephen Curry. Having already shown they are capable of conquering the Pepsi Center, they will be one to watch.
The Los Angeles Clippers have secured an early lead over the Memphis Grizzlies in their match-up, with Chris Paul producing the magic in Game 2 with a buzzer-beating game winner. However, things aren’t going so well for their neighbours, the Lakers.
Without the services of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have slipped to a 2-0 deficit against the San Antonio Spurs, but the biggest worry for them will be the fact that San Antonio appear to be getting healthy at just the right time.
With Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili firing, along with the likes of Kawhi Leonard looking dominant, the Lakers will need a big showing at the Staples Center on Friday to claw their way back into contention.