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NBA playoffs adds to a hefty sports diet
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It's hard to believe we're halfway through April, but what an amazing month it's been thus far for sports fans.

The party started with the men's and women's Final Four, only to be followed up with the return of Major League Baseball and Angel Cabrera's two-hole playoff victory at The Masters.

Things have also been wild here in the county too.

The Salem Lady Seminoles won the Region 8-AAAA soccer crown for the fourth year in a row while the Heritage girls' and boys' teams clinched a No. 2 seed in the state playoffs. On the diamond, Heritage continues to perform well and appears headed for another region championship.

This past Tuesday, the NFL schedule was released and it's caused a nationwide craving for autumn despite the fact it's only April.

With all that already in the books, we get another slice of cake to add to our loaded sports diet with the opening tip of the NBA playoffs on Saturday.

No matter the sport, there's nothing like postseason action and after a lackluster NCAA Tournament, I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the best ballers in the world fight for the right to be called NBA champions.

The NBA is all about star power and two of the game's marquee players have led their squads to a No. 1 seed in their respective conferences with Kobe Bryant of the defending Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James, who has propelled his Cleveland Cavilers to a franchise-best 66-16 mark with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

If these two behemoths were to meet in The Finals in June, it would be a marketing executives' dream come true and, in my opinion, the passionate fingers crossed wish of NBA commissioner David Stern.

Last year's playoffs were great with the emergence of rising icon, as well as my personal current favorite NBA player, Chris Paul, and I think the 2009 edition will be even better.

The Hawks are making consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since the late 90s and hope to build on last spring's eye-popping seven-game series with Boston.

Atlanta improved from a No. 8 seed in 2008 to fourth in the Eastern Conference this season. They now hope to get past the first round, but standing in their way is MVP candidate Dwayne Wade and division rival Miami. Game 1 is slated for Sunday night at 8 p.m. at Philips Arena.

As usual, the Western Conference is stacked with top-heavy clubs and features the best first-round pairings. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the Denver-New Orleans series in a No. 2 versus No. 7 seed matchup. I also want to see if Houston (No. 5 seed) will advance past the first round without Tracy McGrady as they face Portland (No. 4 seed).

The NBA playoffs seemingly take a year and a day to conclude, but this long-winded television odyssey is captivating nevertheless.

Dig in sports fans, for there's plenty of grub on the table to fill your plate.
Rory Sharrock is sports editor for The Rockdale News. He can be reached at