2012 NBA Playoffs: All but One Team Has Shown Signs of Weakness

Michael SchaefermeyerContributor IApril 30, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28:  Forward Carmelo Anthony #7 (L) of the New York Knicks is defended by Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern  Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs  on April 28, 2012 at the American Airines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Knicks 100-67. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

After witnessing one of the most improbable comebacks in NBA playoff history, the number one thing we have learned through the first block of games is that no lead is safe. 

The NBA playoffs are completely different from the regular season. The Los Angeles Clippers most likely would have been content to look forward to the flight to their next destination, but not during the playoffs. The Grizzlies became far too comfortable with the ease of the game that the first three quarters provided them.

Coupled with the Clippers' unrelenting determination, the Memphis Grizzlies suffered an indescribable embarrassment on their home floor. 

Another obvious lesson learned is that nothing is to taken for granted, especially after a condensed season. The Chicago Bulls were poised to make a deep playoff run after learning from last year’s mistakes, only to have that hope "torn" away from them in the blink of an eye in the form of Derrick Rose's ACL.

With two season-ending ACL injuries occurring during the same day—the other to the New York Knicks' Iman Shumpert—the other 14 playoff teams should be holding their breath. 

As for what we have learned about each team’s chances of winning the title, one team stands above the rest. 

Though many teams have played solid games, there have also been weaknesses exposed even in victory for many of this year’s title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were one bounce of the ball away from relinquishing home-court advantage to the No. 7-seeded Dallas Mavericks.

The Chicago Bulls' weakness was exposed in the knee of their reigning MVP point guard Derrick Rose.

The Lakers, who defeated the Denver Nuggets in convincing fashion, did so behind a 31-point performance by Kobe Bryant and a monster triple-double by Andrew Bynum.

While many in Lakerland are understandably confident after Game 1, you have to assume that Bynum can't keep up with this type of output. Will they make it out the first round? Yes, but after that it is going to require a very high level of consistent play out of Bynum, Bryant and Gasol to keep pace. 

Keeping in mind that we have only completed one game in each series and many things can change, the one team that has shown little to no weakness so far is the Miami Heat

You can argue that the same things can be said about LeBron's huge output as I have just mentioned about Bynum and the Lakers. The only difference is that even without LeBron's impressive scoring barrage, the Heat still win. 

Literally. Take away every one of LeBron's 32 points and the Heat still win by one.

The Heat have implemented the talent of their All-NBA players with savvy veterans with playoff experience. No other team has this number of young All NBA players along with such experienced role players.

The Thunder don't have the experience and the Spurs may have a little too much experience.

The Lakers may have something to say, but may be incapable of playing consistently at the level necessary to win a championship. 

LeBron James is not only the NBA's greatest offensive player, but he is arguably the best on-ball defender in the league. Carmelo Anthony is still having nightmares about having to go up against him for another few games. Fortunately for him, there shouldn't be many games left in his season.

We still have a long way to go, many things can change and as we have learned from the Bulls, they can change in an instant. But so far, it is hard to see the Miami Heat finishing with anything less than the Larry O’Brien Trophy.