NBA Playoffs 2012: Separating Contenders from Pretenders

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NBA Playoffs 2012: Separating Contenders from Pretenders
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
Kevin Garnett and the Celtics are primed to perform in the playoffs.

With the 2012 NBA playoffs upon us, it is time to brace ourselves for the most exciting basketball of the year.

The playoff lineups are almost set, with just a few games left in the regular season. The 2012 NBA season saw the rise of the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, the media frenzy about Jeremy Lin, the MVP debate between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and let's not forget the Dwight Howard saga.

But almost all of that is past us, and it's time to look ahead to the playoffs, and to who will have a shot at winning the NBA Championship.

Who will be this year's Dallas Mavericks and advance deep into the playoffs? Who will be the San Antonio Spurs of last year and fizzle out to a lower seed? Which teams with regular season success will struggle in the postseason? 

It's time to look at the contenders and pretenders in the 2012 NBA playoffs

Read on to find out which teams will thrive or die down in the 2012 postseason.

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