by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

And just like that, the first round is done. A little anticlimatic, don’t you think?

Those Bulls and the boys in green spoiled me. Game 7 was still a close one, but I think we all felt like the Celtics were going to pull it out. At least, in the pit of my stomach and depth of my soul, I did. It just felt like the experience of the guys on the Boston bench was too much for the young Bulls to overcome. I can’t be too disappointed though -and no one should be, even if you’re a Bulls fan- because we got a series for the ages.

I think it was the youthful exuberance and blind ignorance to the task in front of them that allowed this Chicago squad to be able to come back from that soul-crushing Game 3 beatdown and turn the series into a dogfight where every single Celtic saw their playoff lives flash before them.

I will forever remember this series by:

- The UConn shootout

-Ben Gordon playing h-o-r-s-e with God (thanks @russbengtson), and playing on one leg.

-Joakim bounding down the court like a gazelle, outdribbling a sprinting but gased Paul Pierce before elevating and dunking all over everything green

-Rondo playing his heart out and his feet off, (literally),

-”It wasn’t my ankle, my feet were just tired”

- Jesus Shuttlesworth giving us a glimpse of all things divine (is there really anything prettier than that jumpshot?)

- Rondo silencing every single critic who thought he was successful only because of the players around him (including some doubters here at SLAMonline).

- Derrick Rose becoming the embodiment of not allowing your emotions to get the best of you while on the floor.

- Stephon Marbury on the court in a crucial Game 7.

What a series. What fight and heart and ultimately poise from the Celtics. Scal coming in  to score eight quick points that made all of the difference in the end. Eddie House coming off of the bench to be perfect from the floor and break the heats of the Bulls. Big Baby and Perk stepping up when they were needed in the absence of KG.

I love this game.

About the Heat folding against the Hawks. I just wanted one good game from this series but then I stopped, thought about the Bulls/Celtics and thought, “screw it, I got what I wanted last night”. Congrats to ATL fans for moving on to the second round. Not sure what to say about the match up with Cleveland.

Moving on to the Western Conference…

Those Nuggets are something. Talk about a redemption story. Billups gets moved and his old team sinks while he becomes the steadying force that Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Kenyon Martin needed.

JR Smith proves his worth off of the bench and comes in second to Jason Terry in Sixth Man of the Year voting. Melo finally gets out of the first round and appears to have his head on straight. Nene is back and he is healthy and stronger than ever.

Chris Andersen has been through hell and back and everywhere in between and he’s bouncing up and down the floor, blocking shots and bringing smiles.

Then, look to the sidelines and you see George Karl, one of the nicest, realest coaches in the league. I can’t hate on the Nuggets. Of course the Lakers are the pick in the West but wow, the Nuggets are fun to watch. You all know I love JJ Barea and Josh Howard, but I’m pulling for the Nuggets in this one.

We’ve got Celtics/Magic and Lakers/Rockets tonight.

I’m going with the Celtics and the Lakers for victories on their homefloor. Kobe sat out practice yesterday with a sore throat, so he very well may throw down 4o on Ron Ron and show him Roy isn’t the only guard to be able to light him up. He also may keep his eyes focused on the bigger task at hand and get his teammates involved early and score 20 while getting a 20+ point victory. What do you think is going to go down in that one?

And will a reinvigored Dwight drop 25 and 25 on the C’s?

NBA Playoffs, there is truly nothing better.