Ranking East's Chances of Dethroning Miami Heat in Playoffs

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Ranking East's Chances of Dethroning Miami Heat in Playoffs
Nick Laham/Getty Images

After a blistering 27-game winning streak, the Miami Heat pushed all Eastern Conference challengers out of their rear-view mirror.

Even after falling to the Chicago Bulls 101-97 on Wednesday night, the Heat stood 11.5 games ahead of their closest competitors, the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. If the defending champs were ever going to lose their focus, it would far more likely come from a lack of competition than a complacency from their recent achievement.

But could the standings be a bit misleading? Could there be a dark horse capable of dethroning the reigning champs lurking in Miami's shadow?

To their credit, the Heat have readily answered the bell no matter what the schedule makers have thrown their way. They have defeated all 29 other teams in the league and hold a record of 33-9 against all conference foes.

There's at least a chance, though, that Miami's season could come to a crashing halt in the postseason. These six teams all present their own unique set of challenges in a potential playoff matchup.

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