Spurs, Heat, Thunder and… Pacers??
If there is one sport that I go hot and cold on it is the National Basketball Association. The NBA has a few seasons rolled into one. With 70% of the season gone, now we will see some serious basketball with real defense and a desire to win as slotting begins to take place for the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs are the Association’s best team right now with the best record followed closely by the defending champion Miami Heat. If those two teams are playing the best coming into the home stretch for the 2012/2013 season the team closest to them has to be the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers just got their best player Danny Granger back from injury and they are trying to play him into shape. While they are being given a lot of national love they are an anomaly of a team. They win 82% of their home games while winning 42% of their road games. While they have played a lot better as of late even on the road, they play in the east and will eventually have to knock off the Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat.
I don’t believe that I’m out of bounds with the statement that everyone is trying to put together a formula to beat the Miami Heat four times over the course of two weeks. With the Miami Heat having home court advantage, the Pacers 42% road win percentage comes into play.
As much as David Stern and the NBA would like you to think the NBA playoffs are wide open and any one of the eight teams from each conference that makes the playoffs could win the championship, nothing could be further from the truth.
The chase for Miami has three contenders from the west. There is the talented and high octane scoring machine (even without James Harden) in the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers than have been historically the doormats of the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs that have a great mix of skilled veterans with experience and young energy. If there is a team that could challenge outside of that group (and you can open-hand slap me for this later) is will be the other team from Los Angeles in the Lakers. They have the talent, lack the coaching, developing the chemistry and have the Black Mamba (Kobe Bryant) as the front man.
The eastern conference goes through Miami and with all due respect to the Indiana Pacers and even the New York Knicks, the team that will threaten to beat the Heat four times in two weeks will not come from the East.
The Miami Heat are Goliath right now and while the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers could all put together a formula to see if they are David the road will be anything but easy.
Shaquille O’Neal’s words from his Lakers days still hold true for Lebron, Dwayne and Chris, “We the champions until we ain’t the champions no more.”
We might have to get used to that sentence.