May 7, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) on the bench late during the second half of game four in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. The Spurs defeated the Jazz 87-81 to sweep Utah and win the series. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Playoffs 2012: Power Rankings after Round 1

The second round of the NBA Playoffs is now underway and the field has shrunk to eight teams.

There were a few upsets in the first round with the Philadelphia 76ers beating the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Memphis Grizzlies on the road in Game 7.

The real playoffs are about to begin now so here are my power rankings of the teams that are left.

1. San Antonio Spurs

They haven’t played in awhile but looked better than anyone in the first round. Now they have a better matchup in the second round getting the Clippers instead of Memphis. They could cruise into the West Finals pretty easily.

2. Miami Heat

The Chris Bosh injury is cause for concern but their two best players are playing great and there’s not much in the East that is going to stop them from getting to the Finals.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

They will begin their next test tonight in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was nice with the way they swept Dallas in the first round but this will be a tougher test for them and is the next step for them to take toward becoming a championship team.

4. Los Angeles Lakers

They were up and down in Round 1 but if they can get their act together they have an outside chance of beating the Thunder. It will all come down to how Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum play. They were inconsistent against Denver but if they look like All-Stars against the Thunder they have a chance.

5. Boston Celtics

They feel like the only team in the East with any chance of challenging Miami. They did a nice job avoiding the upset in Game 1 against the 76ers. It will be huge for them to beat the 76ers as quickly as possible to gain rest for banged up Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

6. Los Angeles Clippers

They have Chris Paul and nobody else can say that. If the game is close then my money is on Paul. But the Spurs are going to be so tough for them. Not to mention it’s going to be Gregg Popovich vs. Vinny Del Negro.

7. Indiana Pacers

They are a very solid team but just isn’t on the same level as Miami right now. It’s going to be a very frustrating series for Indiana fans to watch but if they can take the Heat to six games it will be a good thing for the future of this team.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

They’re just happy to be here now and the Celtics are on a mission. They match up better than most people think against the aging Celtics but it is very unlikely they pull off any kind of upset here.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat Oklahoma City Thunder San Antonio Spurs Second Round

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