The start of the 2012 NBA playoffs means that there are 16 teams still competing for a championship. But there are a few that should stay home.
This year's condensed regular-season schedule was exciting for fans, but it took a toll on a lot of older teams.
Short turnarounds and constant traveling have already worn out players as the postseason now prepares to commence.
The Spurs were able to stay on top of the Western Conference thanks to increased production from younger players, but these teams are not as fortunate Greg Popovich and Co.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are all over 34, and the mileage is starting to haunt them.
Guard Avery Bradley has been a welcome addition, but the rest of the bench does not provide enough production to allow sufficient rest for the key players.
The Celtics are weak up front, and they will not be able to stay with a team that has big men that can run the floor.
The defending NBA champions seem to be headed to an early exit this time around.
Delonte West is the only starter under 32, but the man who gets more minutes at his position, Jason Terry, is 34.
In the first round, they will be facing a younger, quicker team in the OKC Thunder that should be able to score at will.
James Harden is ready and raring to go, and considering the Mavericks' struggles away from home, it is tough to see them winning in Oklahoma City and the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have a lot of talented young players, but the age of a few key players will ruin the team's chance at a title.
First, Metta World Peace will not be the shutdown defender he once was when he returns from suspension, which is something the team will need against tougher opponents.
Second, Los Angeles has survived many playoff rounds over the past decade by deferring to Kobe Bryant and letting him take over a game. While he almost won the scoring title, the perennial All-Star had his lowest shooting percentage since his second year in the league.
It is not in the best interest of the team anymore for Kobe to keep shooting when things get tough, but he still will anyway. This will cost the Lakers any chance at winning it all this season.