The 2011 NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, with eight first-round series all playing their first game over the weekend. Who do we think will move on? Will there be any upsets? Which series will end quickly, and which will go the distance? SB Nation's trio of NBA writers -- Tom Ziller, Mike Prada and Andrew Sharp -- will be making their picks for each pick in this StoryStream. Next up: the Lakers vs. Hornets series.
Lakers in 5. Chris Paul's worth a game in New Orleans, right? I'm not sure the Hornets, great as they can be on the defensive glass, can hold off Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom; that's a whole lot of work for Emeka Okafor, considering how poor a rebounder Carl Landry remains. Chris Paul has had to focus on passing the ball a lot this season due to overwhelming attention paid by defenses, and his shooters just aren't what they were back in 2008.
ANDREW SHARP (link)
The Lakers have looked like crap for the past 10 days, Kobe just sparked a gay rights controversy, and between Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose, there's a good chance that Derek Fisher might drop dead on the court before the 2011 playoffs are over with. But if you want to question the champs, just know that 15 years from now, all the skepticism and panic will be on YouTube, and it'll look ridiculous. The Pick: Lakers in 4.
The Lakers will get bored for a game, but this is going to be a laugher. Emeka Okafor against that frontcourt? I feel bad for him. Lakers in 5