The defending NBA champion Miami Heat are clearly the favorites to repeat as champs in 2013. That does not mean, however, that the remaining playoff teams should roll over, die and come back to life to play a tournament for second place.
It’s true that the Heat appear poised to waltz their way to another championship following a sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami continues to click on all cylinders, while stars on other teams in the playoff picture are dropping like flies. Also, other key players are fighting through injuries (e.g., Joakim Noah and Stephen Curry).
Miami has the best player on the planet right now in LeBron James, but other NBA teams still have an outside chance at knocking him and the Heat off the pedestal.
No playoff team has a distinct advantage over the Heat, so they’ll have to lean on their odds at pulling a shocking NBA upset.
Note: “Remaining opponents” are teams that could potentially meet up with Miami either in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Eastern Conference finals or NBA Finals.