The answer to the question of who matches up well with Miami is “not many.” The Heat are deep, talented, and have arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game playing small forward. In fact, I could entertain the argument that no one matches up well with Miami. Let’s take a look at a few of the teams that just might give the Heat a run for their money. All sports betting odds are courtesy of Bet365 sportsbook.
In the NBA odds this offseason, Chicago has moved from +1000 to +900 to win the NBA Title, and to do that they presumably will have to go through the Heat in an Eastern Conference Finals scenario. The Bulls played Miami well in that spot 3 seasons ago, and they looked as if they were headed back there until Derrick Rose’s injury two seasons ago. Alas, the Bulls were without Rose again last season, but now that Rose is back, he seems like the biggest wildcard to the Heat’s championship aspirations this season. Although the Bulls have many more health questions, Chicago is without a doubt the biggest threat to Miami in the Eastern Conference
The Nets come in as a close second to the Bulls as the only other real threat to the Heat. Indiana peaked last season, but with the additions to the Nets roster, if they can stay healthy, they could easily give Miami a run for their money. If Deron Williams is healthy for the entire season, along with Brooke Lopez, and the new additions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, this team could beat Miami in a seven-game series. Their defense was already very good last season, and it should just improve with Garnett and Pierce coming in.
Even though they are in the Western Conference, the Thunder have to be one of the biggest threats to Miami’s three in a row bid. They may be the best team in the Western Conference, especially if they can get some more offense from guys not named Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. OKC has a much tougher West to deal with this season, and much like the Heat their road to the Finals looks tougher than seasons past. Although I think they are a bit overvalued in the NBA odds this offseason, I do think they are the biggest threat to the Heat in a one-on-one scenario in the Finals.
The Spurs of course were close to beating Miami in the finals last season, but they fell short and could not win Game 7 in Miami. The Spurs have gotten better this offseason as well. Not only were they able to retain everyone from their title run last season, they added Marco Bellinelli to their bench too. The Spurs have to stay healthy like everyone else, but with their added depth this season, they could easily make it back to the NBA Finals to potentially play Miami. I also believe the Spurs are once again the most undervalued of all of these teams, so consider them when placing your NBA picks.
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