After winning back-to-back championships, many people believed that the Miami Heat had the potential and talent to win three in a row–something that has not been done since the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 2000-2002.
Now that we are just over a month away from the playoffs, a three-peat may very well be in the offing. The Heat hold a record of 43-15, they’re a game and a half behind the first place Pacers and are 20 games above .500 at home. These are impressive numbers for any contender.
The next team behind the Heat are the Toronto Raptors… 12 games out of first place. That’s right–12.
Not to mention, there are talks about the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks making the playoffs who are both playing below .500.
To say that a team (Hawks) is in the hunt for a playoff spot with a current road record of 9-22 for the season is mind-boggling. The Hawks (26-33) are potentially a month away from the postseason and the Memphis Grizzlies (34-26) are four weeks from being eliminated from the Western Conference playoffs. If that doesn’t say enough about the under achieving Eastern Conference, then I don’t know what does.
So where does this leave the two-time defending champion Heat? Are they going to cruise past the first two rounds of the playoffs before meeting the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals?
That’s the scenario many are predicting, and whoever wins the Eastern Conference (possibly the Pacers or Heat) will have their hands full against whoever the Western Conference champion may be.