You can make your case of why the Lakers will win the Finals this year. Or the Celtics or Magic. I think the Lakers will complete their three-peat, but I give Boston a great shot at grabbing the title, and I think the Magic are a force to be reckoned with.
The Heat will not win the East this year, mark my words. Sure, just like the Cavaliers of the past few seasons, it wouldn’t surprise me if they finished with the best regular season record.
With that said, there is an immense difference between the NBA regular season and playoffs. In the regular season, it’s a lot more high-paced and a lot more high-scoring. The Heat have the most talent in the league, with the “big three” and the injured Mike Miller, and I expect them to start to mesh better as a team as the season continues. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won 65+ games.
That’s the regular season though. You know what wins in the playoffs? Two things really: Defense and rebounding. Just look at the NBA Finals last year between the Celtics and Lakers. Whichever team won the rebounding battle won all seven games, and a lot of the series, especially game seven (won 83-79 by the Lakers) was a defensive struggle. You could make a completely sane argument that if the Celtics’ Kendrick Perkins played game seven they could have won.
You don’t have to be a genius to see that the Heat don’t have a lot of size or a really dominant rebounder. They have one 7-footer, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who is far from a good rebounder. Chris Bosh has never rebounded very well either. Udonis Haslem is a very respectable rebounder, but he has averaged less than 24 minutes per game. When the playoffs role around, I don’t see anyone who will be able to step up and dominate the glass.
All you really have to do is look at the other great teams. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom. The Celtics have Garnett, Shaq, and Kendrick Perkins should return healthy sometime after the All-Star break. The Magic have arguably the best rebounder in the league in Dwight Howard.
I’m sure all get blasted for this article like I did my last one. I really don’t mind that, I actually like it. But like my last article, I’ll be right. When the Heat get defeated in the playoffs, I’ll just have to say “told ya so.”
Expect to see yet another Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals, with a possibility of Orlando representing the East instead. Miami will not reach the finals, let alone win them.