No. 1 Detroit Pistons (50-32)

vs. No. 8 Orlando Magic (42-40)

Season Series: Pistons, 2-1.

Why Detroit Can Win: The Pistons' back court of Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups feasted on the Magic this season. Hamilton averaged 26 points and Billups 12.7 points and 7.3 assists in three meetings.

Why Orlando Can Win: Tracy McGrady. It's that simple. The NBA's leading scorer (32.1 ppg) can carry this team, as he has all season, but he will be seeing more double and triple teams during the postseason.

Difference-makers: Ben Wallace, the NBA's leading rebounder, looks to return from a sprained knee suffered two weeks ago. The front line of Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek, acquired at the trade deadline, have combined for 27.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.


Sunday: at Detroit, 12:30 (ESPN)

Wednesday: at Detroit, 8 (NBATV)

Friday: at Orlando, 8 (ESPN)

April 27: at Orlando, 5:30 (ESPN)

x-April 30: at Detroit, TBA

x-May 2: at Orlando, TBA

x-May 4: at Detroit, TBA

No. 2 New Jersey Nets (49-33)

vs. No. 7 Milwaukee Bucks (42-40)

Season Series: Tied 2-2.

Why New Jersey Can Win: Experience. After reaching the NBA Finals last season, the Nets know the way. The trio of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin could prove too much for Milwaukee.

Why Milwaukee Can Win: The trade for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason paid off with a trip to playoffs, and the Bucks enter having won eight of their last nine games. Payton's defense could shut down Kidd, clamping the Nets' transition game.

Difference-makers: Jefferson and Mason. Both small forwards are tremendous offensive players who are just now establishing themselves, and both teams struggle when they do not get scoring from either one.


Today: at New Jersey, 12:30 (ESPN)

Tuesday: at New Jersey, 7 (TNT)

Thursday: at Milwaukee, 8:30 (TNT)

April 26: at Milwaukee, 5 (TNT)

x-April 29: at New Jersey, TBA

x-May 1: at Milwaukee, TBA

x-May 3: at New Jersey, TBA

No. 3 Indiana Pacers (48-34)

vs. No. 6 Boston Celtics (44-38)

Season Series: Tied 2-2.

Why Indiana Can Win: With the addition of Tim Hardaway, the Pacers' bench is six deep (even if hot-headed Ron Artest gets ejected) and could be the edge Isiah Thomas needs for the Pacers to make the second round for the first time since reaching the NBA Finals in 2000.

Why Boston Can Win: Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce could find their shooting touch, especially from beyond the three-point line. That would open up what has been an inconsistent inside game this season.

Difference-makers: Jermaine O'Neal and Walker. The Pacers have a huge size advantage, especially at the power forward position, where the Celtics have no one who can contain the East's best low-post scorer.


Today: at Indiana, 3 (ESPN)

Monday: at Indiana, 8:30 (NBATV)

Thursday: at Boston, 6 (TNT)

April 27: at Boston, noon (ESPN2)

x-April 29: at Indiana, TBA

x-May 1: at Boston, TBA

x-May 3: at Indiana, TBA

No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers (48-34) vs.

No. 5 New Orleans Hornets (47-35)

Season Series: Hornets, 2-1.

Why Philadelphia Can Win: Allen Iverson has had an MVP-like season, averaging 27.6 points, 5.5 assists and 2.74 steals. Eric Snow, who has had a career season, has lifted some pressure off Iverson, but as Iverson goes, so do the 76ers.

Why New Orleans Can Win: If the Hornets are healthy, they have a variety of offensive weapons. Jamaal Magloire and P.J. Brown on the inside, Baron Davis and David Wesley on the outside and Jamal Mashburn all over the court could be too much for the 76ers to handle.

Difference-makers: Iverson and Stacey Augmon. In the final meeting of the season between the teams last weekend, Augmon defended Iverson and held him to 2-for-11 shooting as the Hornets won, 94-89.


Sunday: at Philadelphia, 8 (TNT)

Wednesday: at Philadelphia, 7 (TNT)

April 26: at New Orleans, 7:30 (TNT)

April 28: at New Orleans, 8 (TNT)

x-April 30: at Philadelphia, TBA

x-May 2: at New Orleans, TBA

x-May 4: at Philadelphia, TBA