I wrote a Hub about the two teams that can challenge the Miami Heat in the East a while back. Before the 27-game winning streak, the Miami Heat lost to the Indiana Pacers and the streak ended against the Chicago Bulls. Does anyone think different?
Well being that I'm a die hard Bulls fan.....and there are reports that Derrick Rose will return to the court on April 5 vs the Magic, I definitely think the Bulls will challenge the Heat in the play offs. I thought maybe the Knicks or Celtics might, but the Celtics are struggling right now and the Knicks are so inconsistent.
Unless the heat loss Lebron to injury their is nobody that can beat the heat in a 7 game series. Think about it. They went on a 27 game winning streak during the regular season. In the playoffs where they'll be more focused they only have to win 4 out of 7 3 times.
@Billypetty, the Heat are good, cant take that away from them, but you are giving them too much credit. Yes the 27 game win streak was kinda of impressive, however most of which were against mediocre teams. The Heat play to the level of their competition. There is no excuse for a defending Championship team to be down 27 points to a lowly Cleveland Cavs team which was missing its 3 best players, or having to win in a last minute basket by Lebron to beat the Magic. This shows a lack of focus. The fell behind in the Bulls game and they lost. Only the stronger teams will make the playoffs, so I seriously doubt you will see any 27 point comebacks. They are the team to beat, but are very beatable by a couple of teams.
The Heat look unbeatable right now. Indiana is the only team I see challenging them in the east. I think the Heat will end up beating the Spurs in 6 games for the championship.
I do wonder if they have peaked too early and won't have enough gas in the tank for a playoff run.
I say the Bulls and Pacers too. The Knicks have lose their defensive intensity. The west is still down to OKC and the Spurs. Memphis could upset one of these teams and get the conference finals though.
I think the Pacers match up the best with the Heat. They can force the Heat and Lebron to play defense down in the paint which will slow down there fast break scoring and slow the rhythm of the game which is to the Pacers benefit. Over 7 games however I think the weapons the Heat has are just to much for any team in the league really.
Although I'm a die hard Bulls fan and my opinion may be a little biased, I definitely think the Bulls match up against the Heat better than the Pacers, especially when they are completely healthy. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson can defend the Heats bigs better (Bosh, Haslem, Anderson) than Hibbert and West. Your right though, the Pacers slowing the game and allowing Hibbert to impose his will is better offensively......but defense wins Championships.
The east is not so clear now. The Bulls and Knicks play the Heat very well when healthy.
It will be tough. I'm not a fan of the Heat, but I have to admit that they are the best team right now, by far.
I've been a Bulls fan since the 90s, but even though the Bulls have given the Heat a hard time, and they are pesky as hell, they've been inconsistent. I gotta hand it to them still, for being one of the top teams even without Rose, but I don't see them beating the Heat 4 times in the playoffs.
The Pacers have been surprising, and they've also given the Heat a hard time, but I don't think they're mature enough to take it all the way. If they end up against each other, they will buckle.
The only other East team that is a legitimate contender is New York, whom I would've dismissed a couple of weeks ago, but they're on a roll right now. If they can carry this momentum to the playoffs, they might be a threat.
As for the West, I've said it since mid-season, the Spurs won't get far in the playoffs, just like last year. They are showing their age right now, some injuries here and there, and although Pops has done an excellent job adapting to time, new players, etc. I don't see them going past the second round.
OKC was a threat early in the season, but for some reason, they've had their ups and downs lately. I don't know, but I don't see them with the will or the mindset to be a champion right now.
The only other team I gave a slight chance was the Nuggets, but the recent injury to Gallinari bumped them down in my ranking. They will adapt, like they always do, Karl is a great coach, and they have a lot of depth, but they won't get to the Finals.
I'm still trying to figure out if the Clippers can do it.
Getting hot at the right time of year can take you pretty far in the playoffs. I think the Knicks look like they're playing a pretty complete game right now. Is it good enough to beat the Heat? Probably not. But the Heat are just one injury away from being beatable. If Wade isn't healthy, I think the Knicks have a punchers chance.
If only the Lakers could put it together...Not looking good for them.
I don't think the Lakers can contend....even when healthy........they are too big and slow......cant defend on the perimeter. Dwight Howard is playing a lot better, but they cant keep up with the younger, faster teams like the Thunder, Clippers, and Heat.
Miami’s 27 game winning streak was an incredible run and even though the Heat did not break the NBA record, I just can not see any team in the NBA beating them four times in any seven game series again these playoffs
The defending NBA Champions are a nightmare for defenses to deal with. The Heat Upped the Ante and added free agents Ray Allen, and Rashard Lewis in the off-season. The improved supporting cast has only given defenses two options…Stay with the shooters or get dunk on. Nightly highlights on ESPN of LeBron James posterizng somebody answered which option teams chose.
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