Could New York Knicks vs. Memphis Grizzlies Game Be a Finals Preview?

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIINovember 16, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Carmelo Anthony #7 and J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks celebrate a foul against the Dallas Mavericks on November 9, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The New York Knicks defeated the Dallas Mavericks 104-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On Friday night, the 6-1 Memphis Grizzlies will host the 6-0 New York Knicks in what could be an NBA finals preview.

Of course, predicting a Finals that doesn't include teams like the Lakers, Heat or Thunder will draw a lot of criticism, but is the idea really that crazy?

Although it's very early into the 2012-2013 season, Memphis and New York look like two of the top teams in their respective conferences. Both teams have been playing solid basketball and both bring six-game winning streaks into the matchup.

It's no secret that the teams with prolific offenses get all of the hype in the NBA. Defense, although very important, often gets overlooked because it's not as glamorous.

New York and Memphis are two of the top defensive teams in the league, something that will bode well for both come playoff time.

New York has already defeated four playoff teams from last season, including a home win against the Heat and a road win at San Antonio.

The Knicks are second in the league in points scored (103.5 per game), and second in points allowed (89.8 per game). That's a lethal combination in the NBA.

Don't forget that they are playing without starting forward Amar'e Stoudemire who will be out a few more weeks with a knee injury.

New York has a veteran team with a lot of playoff experience including the ageless guard Jason Kidd. The offense is led by star Carmelo Anthony. He is sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 23.8 points a game. If the Knicks continue playing the way they are, they will certainly have to be looked at as a favorite in the East.

Memphis enters the game against New York as the hottest team in the West, winning six straight and defeating the Thunder on the road 107-97 in their last outing.

The Grizzlies are a young, up-and-coming team who have playoff experience from last season. They are paced on offense by forward Rudy Gay who is eighth in the league with 20.7 points a game.

Like the Knicks, the Grizzlies play a balanced game, excelling on both offense and defense. Memphis scores 101.6 points a game, good enough for sixth overall. They allow just 92.4, ranking them seventh in the league.

Memphis plays a gritty style of basketball and boasts one of the best frontcourts in the league with Gay, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Randolph leads the league in rebounding with 14 a game.

The Grizzlies have already defeated both Finals teams from last year by double digits, showing that they are capable of winning big games.

The NBA season is long and grueling and it's often tough to play at a high level for an entire season. Anything can happen and teams who start strong sometimes struggle to finish out the year.

Though it's too early to confidently project any type of playoff matchups, it's fun to speculate and go out on a limb.

The usual teams: Miami, Boston, LA and OKC will all be around at the end, but it's not impossible to think that both Memphis and New York could find themselves facing each other in a series come June.