When the NBA playoffs begin on Saturday, everyone will expect the likes of the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder to have their share of postseason success.
However, they aren't the only ones who are ready to make some noise.
Everyone saw what the Memphis Grizzlies did last season, when they came within a game of the Western Conference Finals as the No. 8 seed.
Could something similar happen this season?
There are a couple of underdogs out there that are capable of making some noise, and who the top two seeds in each conference will hope to avoid along the way.
Let's start with the Cinderella of the 2011 playoffs.
The Los Angeles Clippers are going to have their hands full with Lionel Hollins' team. If Memphis happens to win that first-round series, there's a potential rematch from last season's playoffs awaiting in San Antonio.
The Spurs are playing better than anyone in the NBA, but drawing Memphis in the second round doesn't do San Antonio any favors at all. Memphis can play with the Spurs and it wouldn't be a total shock to see the Grizzlies accomplish something similar to what they did a season ago.
I know what you're thinking—Indiana is the No. 3 seed. That's not an underdog.
However, who's been talked about less than the Pacers?
Frank Vogel's team is long and physical, not to mention pretty athletic. The Pacers should have an easy first round opponent in the Orlando Magic, but could then be staring down a second-round showdown with the Miami Heat.
The Pacers won't be intimidated by the Heat or the Bulls. Either of the Eastern Conference favorites will have a huge challenge getting past Indiana in a seven-game series.
New York Knicks
With Carmelo Anthony averaging 31.0 points per game throughout the month of April, and the success that the Knicks have had under interim head coach Mike Woodson (16-6), don't expect an easy first-round series for either Miami or Chicago.
One of them is likely to draw New York while the other gets Philadelphia, and you can bet that both are hoping for the latter.
The Knicks have great depth and are playing well. A team with Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and Anthony is going to be very tough to deal with.
I'm not suggesting that the Mavs can make a run and repeat as NBA champs, but I am suggesting that the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Lakers would rather see another team in the first round than Dallas.
The team's disappointing regular season is one thing, but Dirk Nowitzki and company matchup very well against the Thunder. Should Dallas come in as the No. 7 seed, the Thunder will have their hands full for sure in the first round.
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