By Andrew Pepe
The 2013 NBA playoffs are here. Many questions arise this postseason regarding whether any team in either conference can take down the powerhouse in Miami. With LeBron playing with as much confidence as ever and Dwayne Wade being relieved of pressure because of James’ dominance, it will very interesting to see if any team can win four games in a series of seven against the Heat. The Heat blew away the Eastern Conference this year in the regular season finishing 66-16 while beating the second place New York Knicks team by 12 games.
The New York Knicks are the sleeper team in the Eastern Conference. They have a team surrounded by scorers and a team that could prove itself to be an offensive powerhouse. With the production of J.R Smith and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have the potential to outscore teams in a big fashion. The big issue for this team will be the absence of their big man, Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire is out with an injury and is very doubtful for the playoffs. Many people believe the Knicks can beat the Boston Celtics in no less than four games and march on to the conference finals in a timely manner.
The Indiana Pacers are thought, by many, to be the biggest threat to the Heat in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are a very physical team, and many basketball experts would not be surprised to see the Pacers out-rebound the Heat, which would give Indiana a huge advantage in this possible matchup. The possible problem that the Pacers might be dealt with involves the lack of scorers they have. Paul George is their superstar, but he might not be able to beat them by himself when it involves scoring. Another reason many NBA analysts believe in the Pacers being a threat to the Heat is because the Pacers have given the Heat problems this year already considering they have already beaten LeBron James and the crew before this season.
In the Western Conference, the big favorite is the Oklahoma City Thunder. This team is full of exceptional players and has a complete team with a great chemistry. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are players that can electrify the entire arena. Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka control the paint and play tremendous defense which could cause many problems to everybody. The Thunder are the favorites to beat the Heat in all of basketball. Their potential to outscore opponents and win in many different ways is a reason why many believe the Heat can be taken down by this team. It will be interesting to see what happens if these two meet again considering these two were in the NBA Finals last season.
Finally, the San Antonio Spurs are a team that could salvage another great run under their belt. With their amazing veterans, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs have the experience to take down any team. The Spurs also arguably have the best coach in basketball in Greg Popovich, who has had a winning team most of his coaching career.