The Miami Heat are the defending world champions, but they are far from easy favorites to win a second title. They may be favorites, but they are far from easy favorites.
They are not as strong, particularly on defense, as they were last year. Some have argued that it's because they aren't as motivated, and in part that makes sense.
However, it's too easy to be dismissive of the real problems they've had. They have out-rebounded their opponents in only one of their losses this year. They have given up an average of five more rebounds in their losses.
More telling is that they have given up 86 more total field-goal attempts in games they have lost. That's an average of 12 per loss. When your opponents get that many more shots, it's hard to win games, especially when they aren't getting evened out at the stripe.
When looking at teams that are most likely to beat them in a seven-game series, consideration is taken into who has the best ability to exploit these weaknesses.
These teams are not chosen based on their ability to win a title, nor are they ranked so. They are ranked according to their chances of beating the Heat in a seven-game series. Some teams have a better chance at beating Miami than winning a title.
Obviously, any team in the West would have to beat the Heat to win the title if they played the Heat in a series. Therefore there are more Eastern Conference teams here than Western Conference teams, as the Heat are more likely to play them.
All statistics in this article are as of January 15, 2013.