NBA Playoffs Predictions 2012: Knicks and Streaking Squads That Will Shock World
This NBA season has been predictable in more ways than not.
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat have dominated the Eastern Conference while the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers have controlled the West. Aside from the Dallas Mavericks' demise and the Indiana Pacers' ascent, this season has yet to shock anyone.
That could all change soon.
Here are five teams primed to turn heads in the postseason.
The Knicks could either play the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the first round, but the Heat are the most probable scenario.
Should New York take out either Chicago or Miami, anyone outside of New York would be justifiably amazed.
Mike Woodson's squad has a better chance than you think, though.
The Knicks have only lost one game under Woodson at Madison Square Garden and are playing their best defense in years.
With Carmelo Anthony playing his best basketball as a Knick and an improved supporting cast including Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak, Baron Davis and J.R. Smith, New York is the most well-equipped "underdog" in the league by a long shot.
The Nuggets are will face either the Los Angeles Lakers or Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, and both scenarios don't look promising for George Karl's club at first glance.
Nevertheless, Denver has the depth to frustrate both a star-studded team and an up-tempo tendency that could prove dangerous.
It's not entirely likely that Denver will upset either of these teams, but it's a shocking possibility to be sure.
The Nuggets have won seven of their last 10 and could be finding their chemistry at the right time.
The Grizzlies might not astonish the world by surviving the first round, but could definitely surprise a few people in Los Angeles.
The real surprise could come in the Conference Seminfinals should Memphis end the San Antonio Spurs' championship hopes for a second year in a row.
Gregg Popovich's team has been on a roll, and it would be an accomplishment for any team to stop them at this point.
It wouldn't be especially shocking if the Celtics blow through their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.
It's the next round where a few jaws could drop.
If the Miami Heat make it to the Conference Semifinals along with those Celtics, we could be in store for a great series and an unlikely outcome. Boston has beaten Miami three times in April (although the third game means nothing on account of both teams' stars sitting).
The Heat are almost certainly the better all-around team, but a combination of matchup issues and exceptional coaching bodes well for Boston.
Doc Rivers' team has been scorching since the All-Star break, hitting its stride at just the right time.
Indiana has won eight of its last 10 games and shouldn't have any problem taking care of business in the first round (unless the New York Knicks somehow sneak into the sixth seed and face the Pacers).
The shocker could come later on if Frank Vogel's team runs into the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Heat would have a clear advantage, but could be coming off a tough first-round series if it's against the Knicks—in other words, whoever faces New York in the first round could be at a disadvantage in the second.
A run-down Miami team could come up short against the impressively deep Pacers, especially without an answer for the 7'2'' Roy Hibbert.
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