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Playoff matchups


Eastern Conference

No. 1 Philadelphia vs. No. 5 Toronto

Playoff path: The 76ers beat Indiana in four games. The Raptors beat New York in five games.

Season series: Toronto, 3-1.

Sixers outlook: Philadelphia hasn't advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 1985. ... Allen Iverson has scored in double figures in 22 straight playoff games, since May, 9, 1999. ... Aaron McKie is averaging 17.3 points and 4.5 assists a game in the playoffs, shooting 46 percent from the field and from three-point range.

Raptors outlook: The Sixers held Vince Carter five points below his season average in the four games, but lost three. ... Iverson scored 51 points in January, but Carter scored 39 in a four-point win.

Bottom line: Toronto, in particular Carter, slew a giant dragon in the Knicks. The Raptors have more weapons than Indiana, and the Sixers, despite their defensive prowess, can't stop them all. Toronto in six.

No. 2 Milwaukee vs. No. 6 Charlotte

Playoff path: The Bucks beat Orlando in four games. The Hornets swept Miami in three games.

Season series: Charlotte, 3-1.

Bucks outlook: Milwaukee set an NBA playoff record with its 40-point third quarter in its Game 4 clincher over Orlando. ... Glenn Robinson averaged 14 points a game in the Magic series and shot just 34 percent, a dramatic drop from 22 ppg and 47 percent clip in the regular season.

Hornets outlook: Charlotte became the first sixth seed to sweep a third seed since the current playoff system was adopted in 1984, and the Hornets swept a playoff opponent for the first time in franchise history ... Jamal Mashburn shot 48 percent from the floor during the four games against Milwaukee, averaging 23.3 points and nine rebounds.

Bottom line: The Bucks' core trio of Robinson, Sam Cassell and Ray Allen is better than Charlotte's Mashburn, David Wesley and Baron Davis. Milwaukee in seven.

Western Conference

No. 2 L.A. Lakers vs. No. 3 Sacramento

Playoff path: The Lakers swept Portland in three games. The Kings beat Phoenix in four games.

Season series: Lakers, 3-1.

Lakers outlook: Counting the regular season, Los Angeles has won 11 straight games, and is allowing nearly six fewer points a game on defense during the run. ... Shaquille O'Neal averaged nearly 30 points and 14 rebounds in the four meetings with Sacramento.

Kings outlook: In beating Phoenix, the Kings won their first playoff series since 1981, when the franchise was in Kansas City. ... Jason Williams hit 44 percent of his three-point attempts against the Suns, and averaged 12.3 points in the third quarters of the four games. ... Forwards Chris Webber and Peja Stojavoic accounted for 40 percent of Sacramento's offense against Phoenix.

Bottom line: The Kings learned a lot in their five-game playoff loss to the Lakers last season. But O'Neal and Kobe Bryant are on a roll that should get them through to the next round. Los Angeles in six.

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