The defending champion Miami Heat have gotten off to a good start in 2012 and stand to widen the gap in the month of December.
Through November, the Heat are 11-3 and currently sit atop the Eastern Conference.
During November (and one game in October), the Heat faced the Boston Celtics once, the New York Knicks once, the Denver Nuggets twice, the Brooklyn Nets once, the Atlanta Hawks once, the Memphis Grizzlies once, the Houston Rockets once, the Los Angeles Clippers once, the Phoenix Suns once, the Milwaukee Bucks once, the Cleveland Cavaliers once and the San Antonio Spurs once.
Of those teams, five currently sit on top of the respective divisions. Three of those teams are responsible for all of their losses.
In December, they will have only two games against first-place teams. Eight games will be against teams with sub-.500 records.
Also in December, the Heat will play nine of 15 games at home where they have been quite successful so far this season (6-0).
Following are predictions for each game the Miami Heat will play in the month of December.
While Miami is up 1-0 for the season over the Nets, they will still take this game seriously. Coming off of a good month, the Heat are ready to take another from the Nets.
They’re still coming together with the new guys, but the Heat offense is going to be tough for Brooklyn to stop. With that said, it will be a close one.
Miami 110–Brooklyn 102
This one is a no-brainer. Washington, who has only won a single game in 2012 to this point, has little hope against Miami.
Expect a landslide.
Miami 118–Washington 80
The Knicks gave the Heat their first loss of the season and it was a tough one. The Knicks took that game by 20 points.
For the Heat to win, they are going to have to come together and shut down the Knicks' potent offense. After the November loss, Miami will come into this game with something to prove.
It will be a squeaker, but in the end Miami may very well pull it out.
Miami 104–New York 98
The 4-10 Hornets are yet another team that will have little hope against the Heat. The Heat’s offense plays well against New Orleans and their home record is spotless in 2012.
The Hornets will have little hope at American Airlines Arena.
Miami 112–New Orleans 85
The Heat took down the Hawks in November, but it was a close game. Atlanta has heated up since then and expect to see its offense push through Miami’s weaker defense.
Much like in November, don’t expect a landslide.
Miami 96–Atlanta 101
The Warriors will also come into Miami on a mission. Golden State has been a solid team so far in 2012, but beating the Heat will take more than solid. They’re going to have to be on fire, but that’s a definite possibility.
This one is a coin toss.
Miami 104–Golden State 99
Much like earlier in December, Miami will mow over the Wizards once again. Miami may not have the greatest defense, but Washington will not be able to shut down LeBron James & Co.
Since the Heat will have faced them once, expect this game to be won by a smaller margin.
Miami 110–Washington 93
The Timberwolves' 6-8 record is a bit misleading. With the return of Kevin Love they will quickly transform into a better team, but the question is how much better.
Beating the Heat—no pun intended—will not be easy. If the Heat underestimate them, though, it’s possible Love and the Timberwolves could be the surprise game of the month for Miami.
Miami 94–Minnesota 97
The sub-.500 Mavericks of 2012 are not the same team that beat Miami in the 2011 NBA Finals. The Heat will come to town and kick off this one-game road trip with a sizable victory through an offensive barrage.
The Heat know the Mavericks and what it takes to shut them down. Miami will dominate.
Miami 99–Dallas 87
While there is no Jazz in Utah, this team seems to have found some “jazz” on the court in 2012. If they can spark their offense a little more, the team has the potential to be good.
With that said, they’re not ready to beat Miami just yet.
Miami 94–Utah 84
While they haven’t faced off yet in 2012, the Thunder are undoubtedly looking forward to a shot at redemption. They will come into Miami ready to prove themselves.
It will be another tight game, but the Thunder may very well come out on top.
Miami 100–Oklahoma City 109
The Heat will travel to Charlotte to begin a four-city road trip to wrap up the month of December. There is little doubt that they will leave Charlotte with another notch in the win column.
Miami 104–Charlotte 88
The Pistons are still struggling to find their footing in 2012. Their defense is a cause for concern and their shooting has been rather hit-and-miss so far.
It would take a small miracle for them to turn things around against the Heat.
Miami 101–Detroit 87
The Bucks may be on top of the Central, but it’s with only a 7-6 record. Don’t let that fool you. When the Bucks are playing at their best, they are a dangerous team.
If the Bucks catch Miami on an off-day they could pull a win off, but Miami is no doubt the better team.
Miami 98–Milwaukee 92