The Walking Dead: Hawks, 76ers

Expect fatal flaws to cut short postseason runs for Atlanta, Philadelphia

Updated: April 26, 2012, 1:28 PM ET
By Neil Paine | Basketball-Reference.com
Derrick RoseHoward Smith/US PresswireThe 76ers nearly missed the playoffs because of a rather porous defense in the second half of the season.

On Tuesday, Chris Broussard profiled four teams (the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers) that scouts considered potential spoilers -- squads that could break the Finals stranglehold we always assumed belonged to the likes of the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Whether because of raw talent, toughness or a combination of both, the scouts felt that quartet would make more than a little noise before the season was over.

Neil Paine writes for FiveThirtyEight, the data-supported sports, politics and culture site coming soon from ESPN.

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