Miami Heat: Will Anyone Challenge Lebron James & Company In 2013 NBA Playoffs?
Unfortunately, the story of the 2013 NBA Playoffs has been injuries. Even before the postseason began the league was without superstars Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo. Then, during round one, we lost Russell Westbrook, David Lee, and Antawn Jamison. Additionally, several other notable players have missed games or have been hampered by injuries: Dwyane Wade, Stephen Curry, Kirk Hinrich, Jeremy Lin, Metta World Peace, and Steve Nash.
Injuries are no fun. As hoop fans, we have to ask what did we do to deserve this? Did we anger the Basketball Gods? We’re sure it was something Bill Simmons did. Will we see more injuries in the 2013 NBA Playoffs? Let’s hope not but we all know the answer is yes. Injuries (maybe not to the extent we’ve been seeing) are part of the game. Of course, “Will more guys find themselves on the DL” isn’t the only question fans want answered. Below, are five additional queries concerning the 2013 NBA Playoffs. We’ll go ahead and provide some analysis but the real answers will come on the court.1) Will Any Team Challenge The Miami Heat?
If you have Heat playoff tickets you’re seeing the eventual winners of the NBA Finals. There seems to be little doubt that the Miami Heat will repeat as champions. The only question is will they be challenged? Will a team be able to take a game from Lebron James and company? Going undefeated through the entire playoffs is very difficult. So, we expect them to drop a game to Knicks and maybe one or two to the Spurs. Now, the Heat swept the lowly Milwaukee Bucks in round one. No surprise there but what was impressive was that their narrowest margin of victory was just 11 points. That came in Game 4, the one without Dwayne Wade. We expect a similar result in round two when the Heat’s playoff run continues with the Brooklyn Nets or the Chicago Bulls.2) How Far Will The New York Knicks Go?
After the New York Knicks dispatch a pesky Boston Celtics team they’ll likely play the Indiana Pacers. The series should conjure up memories when the two franchises were populated with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Anthony Mason, Reggie Miller, and Mark Jackson. The Knicks haven’t been past the first round since 2000. A deep run by the NBA’s marquee franchise would go a long way in making New Yorkers excited about basketball again. It would also give their many detractors something to whine about.3) Can Kevin Durant Lead The Oklahoma City Thunder To The NBA Finals?
Conventional wisdom around the NBA believes Kevin Durant CAN lead a Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals. However, without Westbrook (torn meniscus) they have no shot at defeating the Heat. We wouldn’t be shocked if the Thunder repeat as Western Conference Champions but we would be surprised. We just don’t think they’ll make it past the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers’ weakness is their half-court offense. Without Westbrook’s defensive prowess, the Clips become a much better half-court team.4) Will The Spurs Return To The NBA Finals?
The Spurs haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 2007, but they’ll return to the promise land in 2013. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have found the foundation of youth. And when they play well they take the pressure off of role players like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and DeJuan Blair. In the conference quarterfinals, the Spurs looked spry, comfortable, and confident—granted they were playing a beleaguered Lakers team. If the injury bug continues to avoid them and strike other teams the Spurs will once again claim the West.5) Just How Much More Enjoyable Basketball Will The Golden State Warriors Give Us?
We want the Golden State Warriors to eliminate the Denver Nuggets from the playoffs and advance but wouldn’t mind if their opening round series goes a full seven games. Warriors and Nuggets has been a thoroughly entertaining series. In their first four games, the Warriors and Nuggets scored 100 or more points six times. In the other seven series, teams have score 100-plus points just 17 times (out of 26 games) and failed to score 80 points an amazing 8 times. So how many more playoff games can the Warriors delight basketball fans with their up-tempo style and Stephen Curry’s lights-out shooting? Sadly, not very many. While they match up well against the Nuggets they don’t against the Spurs (nor do they play well in San Antonio). It would be hugely entertaining if the Warriors went deep into the postseason but their style of basketball doesn’t win in the NBA—slow and low does. The Spurs will oust them in five.