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Team by team: All you need to get tuned into the NBA Playoffs

Music and basketball, they go together like cheese and chips. Lets go, Ballers!

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, so it’s time to start staying up late watching very tall men jumping very high because tonight’s the night the NBA gets real.

We’re about to bring you through each of the 16 playoff hopefuls with some handy musical reference points, but before we go any further here’s how the playoffs work.

Image via

The East fixtures are on the right, the West’s on the left. Progression will be determined by a best-of-seven game series – first to win four, moves on to the next stage until the best of the east meets the stars of the west and they (not literally) scrap tooth and nail for very basket.


Eastern conference

1. Miami Heat

Star man: LeBron James. Don’t mess with him

The other guy: With LBJ around, even Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade tend to sink into the background somewhat. But having the firepower of Shane Battier (and his 50%+ accuracy from both inside and out of the three-point line) in their arsenal was invaluable during their 27-game winning streak earlier this year.

What are the chances? Very, very good. Who can stop mighty Miami? is the big question going into playoffs and at 5/6,  the bookies reckon getting over the line last season will only make them stronger.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be…  The Script.

YouTube credit: TheScriptVEVO

The men who can’t be moved – yet, despite every part seemingly working perfectly, you begin to wish they could.

2. New York Knicks

Star man: With the Knicks having embarked on an impressive streak of their own, Madison Square Garden thinks Carmelo Anthony should be  the MVP. Okay, so they’re deluded, but he’s carried this team to comfortably take the second seeding and home advantage in tonight’s opener against Boston.

Seth Wenig/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Ordinarily, we wouldn’t count last year’s defensive player of the year as an unsung hero, but Knicks have been dropping like flies in the recent months, so Tyson Chandler‘s return to the centre is vital to any hope they have of advancing close to the divisional finals.

What are the chances? Pretty short odds, if you ask us. 16/1 looks very optimistic for a team with depleted ranks who may struggle to rediscover the form of last month.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… Ash.

YouTube credit: darthmarkh

Capable of some magnificent stuff, but when the sun goes away and thing get real, they’re really relying on one man and you worry for them a little.

3. Indiana Pacers

Star man: Paul George, check out his second half 33 against the Hornets.

The other guy: The defensive bedrock of their hopes, George Hill, is the Pacers in a nutshell: excellent without the ball, must improve in attack.

What are the chances? Just 8/1 to win the eastern conference, but 20/1 to go one step further. After the Hawks in stage one they’ll come up against either Boston or New York. That’s where it’ll end.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... Damien Dempsey.

Solid, but never going to be number one.

4. Brooklyn Nets

Star man: (Not Jay-Z any more) Deron Williams has been one of the form players in the league, averaging 23 points over his last 28 games

The other guy: Kris Humphries may be the chump who just divorced his now-pregnant wife Kim Kardashian, but on rather than in court, he’s getting the job done quietly and effectively… when he’s not getting blocked down by referees.

What are the chances: We’re into the long-shots now. 45/1 is a fair reflection of a side without any pace to speak of. They’re slow, methodical and they’ll take on the Bulls in round one.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... eh, these nice people maybe? It’s not Jay-Z, but it’s ours.

YouTube credit: evergreenband

5. Chicago Bulls

Star man: With Derrick Rose’s return from injury looking doubtful it’s Carlos Boozer – A tough guy.

YouTube credit: Sean Highkin

The other guy: Luol Deng. The Sudan-born, Brixton-raised forward epitomises the Bulls intense work-rate. He’ll be up and down the court all night.

What are the chances? They’ve proven themselves stubborn this year, ending both the Knicks and Heat’s winning runs. They’re 33/1 to win the whole shebang, but if they can hang in there long enough and maybe nurse Rose back onto the court, nobody will want to play them.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… U2.

YouTube credit:   gMacBook

Big in the late 80s and early 90s and they might just make people sit up and take notice.

6. Atlanta Hawks

Star man: Jeff Teague runs the Hawks’ attack superbly. The young man giving hope to an otherwise average enough side.

The other guy: Al Horford goes about his business, steadily picking up reounds and making shots while the contract-hungry Josh Smith gets the glare.

Horford explains himself to veteran team-mate Delvin Harris. David Goldman/AP/Press Association Images

What are the chances: 80/1 for the championship and 50/1 to take the East. You’re better off betting against them.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... Mark McCabe.

YouTube credit:  playthatbeat

Somehow, they keep coming back to the playoffs without ever contributing much.

7. Boston Celtics

Star man: Paul Pierce.

Michael Dwyer/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Jason Terry. He is fifth in the Celtics scoring charts, but he has a history of turning it on on the big occasion.

What are the chances? As seventh seeds and 50/1 chance to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy, you can count the Celtics as dark horses.

Even before the horrific events of Monday’s Marathon bomb, they had been intensely focusing on the first-round clash with the neighbouring New York Knicks. How they deal with the emotion that surrounds them will be a key factor, it could crush them or pick them up and drag them along for weeks.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… The Cranberries.

YouTube credit: luxien1

Why not?

8. Milwaukee Bucks

Star man: Brandon Jennings.

Wilfredo Lee/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Larry Sanders, we thought he was an old wrinkled comedian, but he’s six feet, 11 inches of deadly serious defence.

What are the chances? Lets not bother with odds on this one, eh? They’ve got Miami to deal with, so at most we can see them playing five times in the playoffs… if they’re lucky.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... Hopeless.

YouTube credit: rte

Western Conference

1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Star man: Kevin Durant.

YouTube credit: NBA

The other guy: Kevin Martin.All eyes will be on how the shooting guard compares the man the Thunder let go, James Harden. Martin has been impressive with 14 points a game en route to top seeding, but Harden has been able to turn it on each time they’ve met this season.

What are the chances? Almost evens to take the West, but after just coming up short against the Heat last year, they’re 3/1 to get it done this time.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… Two-Door Cinema Club.

YouTube credit:   twodoorcinemaclub

Young upstarts, gained a lot of fans very quickly with a fourth and second-place seeding in the post-season. Now, they’re a household name.

2. San Antonio Spurs

Star man: If they can get him fully fit, Tony Parker. France’s baller supreme has been hobbling along for a month now and his form has clearly suffered for it.

Tony P with his ex… and Tiny Fay, phot-bombing like a boss. Matt Sayles/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Kawhi Leonard’s defence will be the key if Spurs are to prove the seeds correct and see off the Lakers.

What are the chances? At 6/1, they’re third favourites with the people who bank on these things, but we have a suspicion that the sheer weight of Lakers ego might shove them out.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… The Coronas.

YouTube credit: thecoronasrock

Diego, Antonio: Tomato, potato… right?

3. Denver Nuggets

Star man: More than anyone else, the Nuggets are a true team without one big name overshadowing the rest. That said, Andre Iguodala’s looking pretty good.

The other guy: JaVale McGee can cook up a beaut from the three-point line now and then.

(Via SB Nation)

What are the chances? The truism in any sport goes, defence wins championships, so Denver’s concession of over 100 points per game does not bode well. But they’re not the 5/6th best team in the US because they’re easily beaten.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... Westlife.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. LA Clippers

Star man: Blake Griffin and his ridiculous dunks.

The other guy: Jamal Crawford, he’s selfless in this ferocious Clippers attack.

YouTube credti: NBA

What are the chances? Perhaps the value bet to take Larry O’Brien home, the 14/1 Clippers have massively outshone their more famous LA rivals with a thrilling combination of aggressive defence and dunks, dunks, dunks.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... Kodaline.

YouTube credit: todayfmwww

‘The next big thing’, we’re told.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

Star man: Marc Gasol. Almost as good as his brother.

The other guy: We’d be lying if we didn’t think Quincy Pondexter deserved a shout partly (okay, purely) because of his name.

The baul’ Quincy dunks on Randy Foye. Danny Johnston/AP/Press Association Images

What are the chances? Like the Bulls in the East, Memphis are coming in under the radar but will run any team in the league close. They boast the second best defence and second-lowest turnover ratio, so they’re an attractive prospect at 25/1 for the title and 13/1 to take the West. They take on the Clippers in a clash of styles that is sure to be gripping.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… Bell XI.

YouTube credit: 2grapes

Not the best at anything, but certainly improved after their key man (Rudy Gay / Damien Rice) jumped ship.

6. Golden State Warriors

Star man: When Steve Curry clicks into gear at point guard, anything can happen.

Mark J. Terrill/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Andrew Bogut, who’d have thought a seven foot Australian would be a serious competitor, huh?

What are the chances? Golden State win the backhand-compliment ‘most-improved’ award after being woeful last year. They’ll need to improve the defence if they’re to give value on odds of 80/1, but they’re the country’s leading three-point shooters, so there’s always a chance.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be... It’s easy to forget about the Warriors, but then you go; ‘Oh, yeaaaaah. Them!’ And they make you glad you watched/listened.

YouTube credit:  rafulica

7. LA Lakers

Star man: Kobe won’t be on a court until next season, so all lenses will turn to Dwight Howard.

The other guy:  Pau Gasol.

What are the chances? They’re the seventh seed on the weaker side of the USA, yet they’re still a relatively short 50/1 to lift Larry again. and 25/1 to win the West. However, without Kobe Bryant and despite the names Pau Gasol, The artist formerly known as Ron Artest and Steve Nash, their defence is weak and they have shown little or no sign of clicking into consistency this year…. until Bryant’s injury.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… Bressie.

One cool cat on desk reckons the talent show judge is ‘hugely annoying’ and ‘extremely overrated’. Fits like a glove.

8. Houston Rockets

Star man: James Harden.

Jae C. Hong/AP/Press Association Images

The other guy: Omar Asik. With Harden almost single-handedly running the Rockets’ offence they rely on their defence and Asik is the most sound in that department.

What are the chances? We love James Harden’s beard and it even took a while for Linsanity to get on our nerves last year, but they’re up against the best in the West in OKC and they’ll have too much in every department.

If they were an Irish chart sensation, they’d be… The Saw Doctors.

YouTube credit:  robeile

Eh, because Harden useta love OKC, but now all that lovin’ is gone.

Now, put on a pot of coffee, get some sugary snacks, sit back and enjoy the action.

All above gifs courtesy of BusinessInsider. See more of their best NBA gifs here.

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