Who Has the Best Shot Against the Heat?
Here’s a list of the 7 remaining potential foes for the Heat (including the Bulls) ranked in order of who has the best shot of either taking down LeBron and company, or at least extend a series to 6 or 7 games, so that we can at least have a little bit to ponder:
7. Chicago Bulls
As miraculous as the 7-game victory over the Nets was, don’t expect Chicago’s magic to carry over this round. Maybe they take a game at home, but nothing much more than that, especially with Luol Deng on the sidelines and with all of the minutes logged by Joachim Noah last round.
6. New York Knicks
New York’s 3-1 record against the Heat this season is a bit of an encouragement, but only two of those games were played in this calendar year: one in which the Knicks beat a LeBron-less Heat 102-90 and the other where the Heat won 99-93. The Heat ousted the Knicks in 5 games last year and although both teams are better this year, the result would most likely be something similar.
5. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers undoubtedly step up their game when the Heat are in town, David West especially, but after struggling mightily to take a single game in Atlanta, it’s hard to believe the Pacers would be able to come close to winning a road game against the Heat, and don’t expect their home games to be anything of a cake walk either.
4. Golden State Warriors
As good as Stephen Curry was against the Nuggets, he’d have to be significantly more dominant still for the Warriors to have a shot against the Heat. Apart from Curry, the Warriors have a few players that could frustrate the Heat, but the main concern would be the defensive end, where they’d struggle immensely to find anyone to matchup against LeBron.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
It would be great to see Kevin Durant get another shot at the Heat, but this time around, his support system is significantly more limited than last year. No Harden and No Westbrook really puts a lot of pressure on Durant to take on a heavy load offensively and key roll players like Reggie Jackson and Kevin Martin would need to have monster performances in order for the Thunder to have more luck against the Heat than they did last year.
2. San Antonio Spurs
LeBron’s only faced the Spurs once in the playoffs. Granted it was when the core of the Spurs were in their prime and LeBron’s supporting cast was little more than a young Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson, but it could be an interesting matchup this year. Coach Popovich has a pair of intriguing weapons he can throw at LeBron with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and behind the leadership of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, maybe the Heat could meet their match.
1. Memphis Grizzlies
With Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince, the Grizzlies can throw a decent defensive lineup at Wade and LeBron and with the pesky duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph up front, they could really frustrate Miami on the glass. All in all, the Heat could very well blow the Grizzlies out of the water, but Lionel Hollins’s crew seems to enjoy being the underdog and maybe they can find some magic on the NBA’s biggest stage.