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Ranking All 16 Teams of the 2014 NBA Playoffs

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Ranking All 16 Teams of the 2014 NBA Playoffs

NBA playoffs
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Much to the delight of basketball fans everywhere, the 2014 NBA playoffs are set to begin on Saturday. There are plenty of highly anticipated matchups that are loaded with potential upsets. Before anyone can begin to preview the games, they have to understand where each team stands. Check out a ranking of all 16 teams of the 2014 NBA playoffs.

16. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks
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16. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks
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The Atlanta Hawks squeaked into the playoffs with a below-.500 record. All that matters is that they’re in. What is even more encouraging is that they have a team that could stack up well against the Indiana Pacers, assuming the Pacers are still on the down. Realistically, the Hawks will win one game if they’re lucky, but nothing more than that.

15. Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Bobcats
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15. Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Bobcats
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It’s a pleasant surprise to see the Charlotte Bobcats in the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10. They were swept in four games that season, which is what will most likely happen this time around as well. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker should give them a fighting chance in the first round, but there isn’t much reason other than that for fans to get their hopes up.

14. Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards
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14. Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards
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The Washington Wizards haven’t been in the playoffs for quite some time. However, the new regime gives fans plenty of optimism. As long as John Wall can keep his turnovers under control, he should explode in the first round and give the Wizards a fighting chance. The only way Washington makes it past the first round is if their defense can hold up, which is asking a lot.

13. Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks
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13. Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks
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Counting out Dirk Nowitzki in the playoffs is foolish. Unfortunately, the Dallas Mavericks don’t have much going for them other than that. Yes, the Mavericks can put up points like nobody’s business, but they also surrender points at an alarming rate. Defense wins championships. Dallas has yet to show they can handle the top offenses in the conference.

12. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers
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12. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers
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Like the Mavericks, the Portland Trail Blazers can put on a show on offense when they want to, but their defense is dismal. The hope is that LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews are enough of an offensive threat to overcome any opponent they face. Unfortunately, a lack of a defense will be in all likelihood their downfall.

11. Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies
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11. Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies
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Even though the Memphis Grizzlies are the likely eighth seed in the West, I still believe they have the potential to upset a top-tier team. Their size in the middle (Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph) is enough to intimate any other team in the conference. On top of that, they have the right mindset and experience to do wonders.

10. Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors
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10. Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors surprised a lot of people last season when they made a legitimate run deep into the West semifinals. Unfortunately, I’m not sold that they will be able to accomplish the same thing this time around. One reason to believe the Warriors can be successful is Stephen Curry. He alone could work some magic and raise the play of everyone around him.

9. Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets
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9. Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets
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It might be surprising that the Houston Rockets aren’t higher on this list. The duo of Dwight Howard and James Harden should be enough to give the Rockets a fighting chance no matter who takes the court against them. However, I’m not sold that they will be able to finish off games when it matters most. If Houston gets a big lead, they should be able to pull away. Other than that, fans should be wary of this team.

8. Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors
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8. Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors
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No one is really giving the Toronto Raptors much credit for clinching the No. 3 seed in the East. In fact, the average basketball fan was probably shocked to see the Raptors perform so well this season. The combination of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry is the reason Toronto will be an exciting team to watch in the postseason. On top of that, the fact that no one outside of Toronto thinks the team belongs is more reason to believe they will succeed.

7. Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets
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7. Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets
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The Brooklyn Nets turned around their horrendous start to the season and look to be a team that is ready to do some damage in the playoffs. The veteran experience is overwhelming, which is something teams should not take for granted. Even though old age could be their downfall, it also could be the reason why they upset some of the more prominent teams.

6. Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls
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6. Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls
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There’s no guarantee that the Chicago Bulls will be successful in the playoffs just because they have the will to overpower opponents. With that being said, their determination to never give up is exactly why they will make plenty of noise in the East.

5. Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers
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5. Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers
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The Los Angeles Clippers have got hot at the right time. Their offense and defense have gotten stronger as the season went on, while a combination of veteran and young players should bode well. Not to mention, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have the look of a duo ready to take the Clippers to new heights. Fans have been waiting for it to pay off and 2014 might just be when it happens.

4. Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers
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4. Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers
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Everyone wants to knock on the Pacers for performing dismally since early March. What people may forget is that the Pacers are still the No. 1 seed in the East, which definitely carries some meaning. If Indiana can overcome the hiccup down the stretch in the regular season, they will return to their roots of being a dominant defensive team. That alone will carry their weight all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors
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3. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder
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Any team with the league’s MVP is always dangerous in the playoffs. The combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will be too much for opponents to overcome. The Oklahoma City Thunder has the postseason experience, athleticism, defensive capabilities and thirst for victory. It will be shocking if they aren’t in contention when the conference finals roll around.

2. San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs
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2. San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs
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The San Antonio Spurs have the look of a team destined to reach the NBA Finals once again. The veteran experience, stellar coaching and ability to get the job done are all reasons why they will repeat as Western Conference champs. Their biggest issue will be competing against teams with more athleticism, which is what they will face in the Western Conference and NBA Finals, if they’re fortunate enough to get there.

1. Miami Heat

Miami Heat
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1. Miami Heat

Miami Heat
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The Miami Heat isn’t the best statistical team in every category, and their inability to rebound could get them in a lot of trouble. However, no one can argue with the defending champs, especially with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hungry for another ring.