NBA Playoffs 2012: 5 Hot Teams That Could Play Spoiler
With the 2012 NBA playoffs right around the corner, teams are putting the finishing touches on their regular seasons, and some teams are doing that better than others.
History has shown us that teams that are playing well at the end of the regular season tend to make noise in the postseason. Hot teams are hard to cool off.
Here are five hot NBA teams that could really spoil some other teams' championship hopes.
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The Memphis Grizzlies are a young, explosive team that is playing well right now. They've won seven of their last 10 games and currently sit at the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.
Last season, they proved they have what it takes to spoil a contender's playoff party, defeating the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs in the first round as an eighth seed. This year, they have Rudy Gay back and a better seed with which to work.
Don't be surprised if this hot team burns a few in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers
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The addition of Chris Paul to this team has made it one of the best in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers have firm control of the No. 4 seed in the West right now and are in contention for the third seed, having won seven of their last 10 games.
Solid three-point shooting, a formidable frontcourt of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Kenyon Martin and the quarterbacking ability of Paul make this team incredibly dangerous to any opponent.
The fact that they are heading to the playoffs on a hot streak exponentially increases that danger.
San Antonio Spurs
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How can the top seed in the West be a spoiler?
San Antonio was the No. 1 seed last year too, and it fell hard against the Grizzlies. The franchise has lost in the first round two of the last three years and hasn't won a title since 2007. Does anyone really have the Spurs favored over the Thunder?
The Spurs are old. They don't play a style conducive to playoff basketball. They aren't athletic enough.
I keep hearing these things about the San Antonio Spurs—yet I keep watching them dominate their opponents on a daily basis.
This squad might be playing the best ball in the NBA right now. Winning eight of 10 over younger, more athletic squads is impressive. This hot streak, plus the championship-caliber experience this squad has, could equate to a dominant postseason run.
Five years from now, it won't be the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat that are dominating the Eastern Conference—it could very well be the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers have talented youth everywhere and recently have gone on a 9-1 run this season to surge to the third seed in the East. Roy Hibbert has become a franchise center, David West has found a team to win with and Danny Granger is starting to prove that he can lead a contender.
Youth can be dangerous in the playoffs, especially when a hot streak like this gives it the confidence of more veteran teams.
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Another old team that supposedly can't win is the Boston Celtics.
We all thought they were past their prime and should have traded away one of the Big Three at the trade deadline.
Turns out we were all wrong.
The Celtics are now at fourth in the East, thanks to winning seven of their last 10, and would probably still be climbing were it not for a hot Indiana team. Rajon Rondo's ability to run the offense while also spearheading the defense makes this team a danger to all those that come in contact with it.