Point/counterpoint: Which NBA No. 1 seed will advance further in the playoffs?

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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San Antonio Spurs

Critics say the Spurs are over-the-hill. But the Lone Star State's best squad still has one more run left in it.

Experience is so valuable in the NBA, and no team embodies experience mixed with success like San Antonio. And despite a common held belief, there's a youth movement on the roster, too.

The concern about the team being too old is ill-founded — younger players such as Dajuan Blair and George Hill combined to provide around 20 points per game in the regular season.

Even among the veterans on the team, the scoring on the team is evenly distributed among the International Big-Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. In the regular season, the trio averaged a combined 47 plus points-per-game, meaning that if one or even two of them have a bad game, the team that had the Western Conference's best regular-season record is finding its scoring from other places.

As for the Chicago Bulls, that squad is going to wish for some veteran leadership that is so abundant in San Antonio.

Derrick Rose is a beast, that's the only way to put it. But which Chicago player can contain Dwight Howard in Round Two? Heck, the team even showed some weaknesses letting Tyler Hansbrough go off for 22 points in Game One of the Pacers series.

Yes, the Spurs lost their first game to the Grizzlies, but that was a close contest without Ginobili, who will be back for the majority of the playoffs.

The NBA favors familiarity. Winning that first championship or even that streak of series is an intense experience that Duncan and most of his crew have gone through before. Rose and Noah, their grit has yet to be tested.

— by Ian Martin

Chicago Bulls

In game one of their respective series, No. 8 seeds tested both the Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs.

The Bulls survived for the win. The Spurs didn't.

While the Bulls could turn to Derrick Rose to ensure victory, the Spurs have no such luxury. Add in that the Spurs will have to topple the defending champion Lakers, and the Bulls' playoff run will last longer than the Spurs'.

First, the Bulls have Rose. The presumptive NBA MVP can take any game over. He is one of the very few true closers in the sport. While the Spurs have such All-Stars as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, they do not have one guy that can single-handedly win a game.

Despite Duncan, the Spurs don't have a dominant frontcourt. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol dominated San Antonio for 49 points and 23 rebounds in the Grizzlies' Game One victory. If they were to meet in the conference finals, the Lakers' frontcourt of Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum will dominate the Spurs. This doesn't even take into account one of the other closers in basketball, Kobe Bryant. The Spurs are a very good team, but they won't beat the Lakers in a seven-game series, especially if Andrew Bynum is healthy.

After withstanding the best shot of the Pacers, the Bulls will cruise to a series victory, then take out the Hawks or Magic in round two. The conference finals against either Boston or Miami will prove a tough test for the East's top seed, but the Bulls have shown an ability to beat both teams. Without Kendrick Perkins, Boston isn't the giant it was, and Miami isn't deep enough for a title run.

The Bulls have what it takes to get to the NBA Finals, and by doing so, will outlast the Spurs in the NBA playoffs.

— by Ryan Murphy

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