Will ‘The King’ get ‘The Ring’? King James is still ringless. Another playoff disappointment could prove disastrous for LeBron and company. It’s championship or bust for the Heat. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Lob City’s fun, but what about playoff wins? We watched the Clippers dunkfest on SportsCenter all year, but will the Clips translate alley-oops into W’s? The jury’s still out. Chris Paul and Griffin will power them in the first round, but the lob stops there. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Spurs can’t win again, can they? The methodical Spurs are in the playoffs for the fifteenth-straight season. All signs lead to a showdown with the more youthful, upstart Thunder. It’s hard to bet against Tim Duncan and his cast of proven vets. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Can the Celtics endure a deep playoff run? The Celts started off the season like many teams – sluggish and out of shape. As the season wore on, Boston improved. This is likely the final tour of their ‘Big Three’ of Garnett, Allen and Pierce. Here’s to the Old School. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Are the Thunder the new NBA guard? No other team has a more exciting and talented core of youth talent than the Oklahoma City Thunder. Spearheaded by Kevin Durant, the Thunder will ultimately play their way to the Finals because of Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Will the Pacers surprise the East? The Pacers finished with the fifth-best record in the league. Who knew? Indiana should get by a Dwight Howardless-Magic in the first round, but their other East opponents will be ready. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Will Derrick Rose’s injuries ultimately hurt or help the Bulls? The league’s reigning MVP missed 27 games and the Bulls still finished with the league’s best record. With Rose back at full-strength, the Bulls may be primed for a championship run. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kobe, Kobe, where art thou’ Kobe? Not having Metta World Peace for the Lakers first round clash with Denver will hurt, but that’s where Kobe comes in. Bryant went missing in last year’s playoff sweep to the Mavs — he needs to show early and often for the Lakers to have a shot. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Will Melo give the Knicks a fighting chance? Temporary ‘Linsanity’ made the Knicks ‘thee’ story for a good part of this season. Carmelo Anthony will get his points, but drawing the Heat in the first-round is a no-win situation. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
What happened to the defending champs? In what seems like forever and a day ago, the Dallas Mavericks outdueled the Heat for an NBA title. This year, the Mavs will be singing first-round blues, but not without a solid fight against the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The NBA Playoffs kick off today and fan interest in this year’s season has been remarkably high. TNT boasted its highest-rated and most-viewed regular season ever, while a number of superstars will make the playoffs both intriguing and exciting. Likely league MVP LeBron James is still in search of his first ring — and if he doesn’t get it, media scrutiny will be at a fevered pitch. Other storylines in this year’s playoffs include an upstart and thriving Oklahoma City Thunder, a league-best Chicago Bull team welcoming the return of its star Derrick Rose and a quest for all-time great Kobe Bryant for an MJ-matching sixth ring.
Here are ten storylines theGrio is following that will make this year’s NBA playoffs worth every minute.