The Miami Heat are the best team in the league, but that doesn't mean they don't have their mental lapses and let games slip away.
Everywhere they go there is a bullseye on their back, and they haven't even won a championship. That is, not yet.
With the condensed schedule, there are a lot of trap games that the Heat could easily look past and end up losing.
The key to the fast-paced season is to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.
In the next month or so the Heat have some big games coming up that will really test them. I wouldn't call these games "must wins," but I would say these wins could be confidence boosters.
Despite the Dwight Howard drama, the Magic have managed to put together a solid season so far.
And at the end of the day, the Heat's weakness is their bigs. Dwight Howard is the most dominant force in the game today and he will have 6'9" Joel Anthony starting off on him.
This should be a good test for the team as they game plan for Howard and try to contain the beast. The Magic shooters make it hard to double him. It will be a good defensive test for arguably the best defensive team in the league.
The Atlanta Hawks are split with the Miami Heat this season at one game a piece.
When the Heat beat the Hawks it was in a thrilling game that both Dwyane Wade and Lebron James did not play in.
Wade and James are still out for revenge, while the Hawks are still trying to prove that they are contenders and not pretenders.
I look for this game to posses playoff intensity, but I also expect the Heat to assert their dominance early on.
The Pacers are one of the up-and-coming teams in the league.
They are very young, but extremely talented and have some of the best one on one defenders in the league in the likes of Dahntay Jones and Paul George.
Danny Granger is an underrated player on both ends of the floor and still working toward that superstar label.
Let's not forget about the possibly All-Star Roy Hibbert, who is always one of the biggest players on the floor standing at 7'2".
The Pacers' length will bother the Heat and I think it's a team they'd rather not see come playoff time.
Surely the Pacers players have this game circled in their mental calendar, and will look to use the game against the Heat to prove that they are real force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
The Knicks aren't playing the best basketball, but they still posses supreme offensive talent including Tyson Chandler, a player who gave the Heat a lot of trouble in last years finals.
The matchup of Carmelo Anthony vs. Lebron James is always a good one, as well as Amare Stoudemire vs. Chris Bosh.
Landry Fields is one of the most underrated defenders in the league and is playing some great basketball this year. He is also a big guard compared to Dwyane Wade's 6'4" frame.
With the anticipated return of Baron Davis, I look for the Knicks' season to turn around very soon.
And even if Baron Davis doesn't make a difference, Jeremy Lin is playing some great basketball in Shumpert's absence.
Tune into this game and you will be in store for a good game.
In my opinion, the Blazers are the favorite to come out of the Western Conference.
They have really come together this season and are playing some of the best basketball in the league.
LaMarcus Aldridge is crazy good and the support he is getting from his teammates is unmatched.
This could be an early look at this years NBA finals—both teams are the real deal.
The Big Three and company better come to play or they might find themselves getting blown out before they know it.
Kobe Bryant vs. Miami Thrice is exciting no mater how you look at it.
The Black Mamba is not quite ready to relinquish the throne, but it seems as though he does not have a say in the matter anymore.
In the Lakers/Heat match up earlier in January the Heat were in control the whole game and cruised to an easy victory.
Kobe has not forgotten that and he will take the floor with revenge on his mind.
The match up between these two teams is always hyped up, but in reality, it never leaves up to it.
Bryant has yet to conquer the big 3, will this be the day? We'll have to wait and see.