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Year of the superstar looms in NBA playoffs

When Kobe Bryant was last seen in the playoffs, he was hopeless and helpless as his Los Angeles Lakers were being run over in Boston in Game 6 of the NBA finals.

LeBron James never got to a sixth game in his first time on the big stage, as Cleveland was quickly swept by San Antonio.

Now, with one big injury in the Eastern Conference and too many flawed teams in the West, one of the superstars has a good chance of getting the ending he wants this time.

“If I’m not competing for the NBA championship, then I’m wasting my time and I’m wasting my teammates’ time,” James said. “To be in a position to be in the playoffs and to be in a position to fight for the NBA championship, I’m looking forward to it.”

The playoffs begin this weekend, with James and the Cavaliers hosting Detroit on Saturday in their opener. Also Saturday, Boston – without the injured Kevin Garnett – faces Chicago, Dallas visits San Antonio in a rematch of a recent postseason thriller, and Portland welcomes Houston for its first playoff game since 2003.

Bryant and the Lakers get started Sunday against the Utah Jazz. Then, Orlando hosts Philadelphia, NBA scoring leader Dwyane Wade leads Miami into Atlanta, and the New Orleans Hornets visit Denver.

Cleveland finished with a league-best 66-16 record and has home-court advantage throughout the postseason. That means someone is going to have to beat the Cavaliers in their arena, where they were 39-2 this season – and that second loss came in the regular-season finale when James didn’t play.

The arena advantage gives the Cavaliers a solid chance to reach the finals, where they were swept by the Spurs two years ago after mustering the worst offensive performance in the history of the championship round. This version is much better on that end, thanks in large part to Mo Williams, who delivered an All-Star season in his first year in Cleveland.




Chicago at Boston 9:30 a.m., ESPN

Detroit at Cleveland noon, ABC

Dallas at San Antonio 5 p.m., ESPN

Houston at Portland 7:30 p.m., ESPN


Utah at L.A. Lakers noon, ABC

Philadelphia at Orlando 2:30 p.m., TNT

Miami at Atlanta 5 p.m., TNT

New Orleans at Denver 7:30 p.m., TNT

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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