Biggest Eastern Conference Threats to Miami Heat Title Three-Peat

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Biggest Eastern Conference Threats to Miami Heat Title Three-Peat
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Can anyone stop LeBron James and Shane Battier from celebrating again?

Something historic happened on Jan. 10, 2013, even if that wasn't apparent at the time. 

Mario Chalmers, after sitting the entire fourth quarter, entered the game against the Portland Trail Blazers and missed an open three-pointer.

"I'll take that shot any day," Chalmers said later. 

The shot just didn't go down. That was the last time, during the entire 2012-13 season, that the Heat went down in defeat in a second straight game.

It didn't happen in February, March, April, May or June.

It didn't happen when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were taking breathers as part of the maintenance program.

It didn't happen during the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks, the second round against the Chicago Bulls, the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers or even the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs

Considering that, and considering that the Heat took the Eastern Conference top seed by a 12-game margin, it may seem a stretch to suggest they should be scared of anyone. Still, it's not crazy to claim that some teams have closed the gap. 

As Chalmers recently told the Associated Press: 

The East is going to be a beast this year. It's going to be tough competition every night. Brooklyn's making moves, Indiana just got Luis Scola, Derrick Rose coming back to the Bulls, it's going to be a tough Eastern Conference this year. At the same time, we'll still do what we do to try to get that third championship that we want.

What are the five primary East challenges the Miami Heat face? 

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


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