Breaking Down Potential First-Round Matchups for Miami Heat

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Breaking Down Potential First-Round Matchups for Miami Heat
USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James and the Heat appear to have a straight shot to the second round.

At some point, the Miami Heat will lose again.

It just might not seem like it at the moment, as Miami has won 11 straight games entering Tuesday's visit from the Sacramento Kings, which seems a sure shot to make it a dozen. 

The Heat's latest streak, against opponents with a respectable .494 record—including those losses to Miami—has pretty much secured the top spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Miami is currently on a 61-21 pace, which, even if the Pacers won their next 27 games, is the best record that Indiana could achieve. And the Heat have a chance to finish better than that, with a favorable schedule the rest of the way. 

As LeBron James put it, after Sunday's win against Cleveland:

I understand what this time is all about. I understand, going through February, March and April, what the games bring, finishing out the season. So I do try to approach the game the same way, each and every game, don’t try to get too high and too low, I approach it with the focus and intensity for my teammates, but I do understand some games are different, and some times of the year are different too. Can’t sit here and say a February game is the same as an October game. It’s good to be in a situation where we play (good) ball at the right time of the season.

If they're playing this sort of ball when the postseason starts, none of the East's first-round opponents stand a chance. 

Still, here's how the Heat match up with the five most likely opponents:

(All quotes for this piece were collected through the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics were accurate of Monday afternoon.)

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