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The NBA playoffs began last weekend, and believe it or not the most interesting time to watch is now. The first round, especially after upsets by Denver and Golden State over two of the top teams in the west, San Antonio and Dallas, will be abnormally interesting.

Four of the series grab me, which is way above average for this round, since I'm usually counting down the days until it is over. The first is Phoenix against Kobe Bryant — err, the Lakers. As game one illustrated, Los Angeles can play with Phoenix if Kobe is unconcious, which has been fairly commmon this year. But even if it is a sweep, every game will be full of highlights impossible to turn off.

The second is Denver vs. San Antonio. Watching the Spurs is usually about as fun as watching a fundamentally sound meditation contest, but now that Tim Duncan has a feud with the refs there is at least something to watch for.

The reason to tune in, however, is that Carmelo and Iverson are finally looking like the duo every Nuggets fan envisioned when the trade happened. They combined to score 61 in game one and were actually passing to each other.

The only thing interesting in the East is the possiblility that Chicago beats the Heat. I think the NBA needs this to happen to prevent future teams from sleepwalking through the season and trying to turn it on in the playoffs. So far so good, Bulls up 1-0.

The whole Vince Carter coming back to Toronto thing does not really grab me. For some reason, basketball and Canada don't mix for me. For all those of you thinking, "Steve Nash," my only response is, "shhhh."

What does grab me, more than anything except Phoenix against Los Angeles, is that Dallas lost their first game to the lowly Warriors, making Golden State 4-0 this season against The Mavs and responsible for 26 percent of their losses.

I don't want to see Dallas win because of the Cuban factor (I actually like him), and that any series involving two of Dallas, San Antionio, and Phoenix will be pure gold. But Golden State's win certainly makes this round more dramatic.

In the end I think Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Chicago will survive their interesting first round series. From there it is a four team tournament to see who wins the West and has the privilege of sweeping Chicago. My (figurative) money is on Phoenix.

Now we just need ESPN on MIT Cable.