In case you haven't watched much basketball this season (or any season for the last decade), LeBron James is good.
Really, really, really good.
And so are his Miami Heat. But how good are they?
In 1983, Moses Malone predicted that his 76ers would go "Fo, Fo, Fo" through the playoffs. For those of you who don't speak Moses, that means he thought his team would sweep all three rounds of the playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks squashed that prediction, which brings us back to Miami. Could they have a chance to do what Moses couldn't?
Before the playoffs, I confidently predicted that, at their best, I really thought the Bucks could take Miami to four games. That's not a typo. So far, Miami hasn't given me any reason to believe that prediction won't come to pass.
So that takes care of the first "Fo," but what about the second?
For very different reasons, Chicago and Brooklyn present problems to Miami. By problems, I mean they might actually be able to steal a game if everything breaks right.
For Chicago, it's their physical style of play. We saw this when Miami's 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago last month. The Bulls love to bully-finesse teams like Miami. In fact, the Bulls particularly love to bully Miami.
The Heat should win their first two games at home by a combined 60 or 70 points, but Game 3 in Chicago might present some problems for that specific reason.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn's star power makes them dangerous to anyone, Miami included. Deron Williams is the kind of player who, at his best, could match LeBron on an off-night. Joe Johnson isn't afraid of Dwyane Wade and Brook Lopez is the type of low-post scorer that has always given Miami headaches.
Still, Brooklyn hasn't beaten Miami yet this season and the playoffs don't seem like a particularly good place to start.
As for Chicago, you'd have to imagine Miami would be extra-motivated to take down the team that ruined its winning streak. When push comes to shove, I don't think either wins a game against Miami.
So there's our second "Fo,". But what of our third?
That's where things get tricky.
Indiana has a 2-1 record against Miami this year and pushed the Heat to the brink of elimination in the second round last year. Paul George is the best LeBron defender left in the playoffs while Indiana's size and physicality are basically Miami's kryptonite.
The Knicks? Well, for some reason, they always play Miami well.
Wrong though he might be, Carmelo Anthony believes he's every bit as good as LeBron. That will serve him well in the playoffs. Besides, it's really tough to win playoff games at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, the 2013 Knicks look suspiciously like the 2011 Mavericks. Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler are in place, J.R Smith is basically a younger Jason Terry and if Anthony can do a decent Dirk Nowitzki impersonation, the Knicks might give Miami some problems.
With that being the case, I think either the Knicks or Indiana steal a game from Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat probably won't go "Fo, Fo, Fo," but "Fo, Fo, Fi," or "Fo, Fo, Si?" Totally possible. In fact, imminently likely.
Just don't rule out "Fo, Fo, Fo." When you have LeBron James on your side, anything is possible. And when you play in the surprisingly weak 2013 Eastern Conference? That certainly doesn't hurt either.
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