Many players see the regular season as the time to improve both individually, and as a team. When it comes to playoff time, it’s about creating your legacy. Essentially, the post season separates the good players from the great players, and the talented teams from the legendary teams. The most important NBA games of the season are finally upon us.
Following their dominant run and eventual championship last season, the Miami Heat are back and favored to win it all again this season-a very difficult task to accomplish. However, coming off of the second longest win streak in NBA history (27 games), the Heat are poised to win another title as the top seed in the East.
In fact, there really is no team that seems like a serious threat to the Heat. The biggest scare for Miami not winning the Eastern Conference would come from the second seed, the New York Knicks who have beaten Miami in three of their four meetings. Still, LeBron and company have only lost two consecutive games at most all season, making it that much more difficult to beat them in a best of seven series.
In the West it is much more competitive with no clear front-runner. Any of the top five seeds (in order): Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies have a legitimate chance at winning the Western Conference.
Behind Miami, the Thunder and Spurs are your best bet to win a championship according to the odds in Vegas. As a matter of fact, if the Heat don’t win the Eastern Conference, all signs are leading to a Western Conference team winning the title. Four of the five teams behind Miami favored to win the NBA Finals are in the Western Conference.
The Thunder have a few advantages over other Western Conference teams. As the top seed, they will have the easiest road to the finals. Also, Oklahoma City is a younger team which benefits from a multitude of games in a short time span. With their experience from last season’s finals and all-stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder look like the best in the West.
It may all come down to which team can stay healthiest throughout the post season as the league is already missing the presence of all-stars such as: Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and David Lee.
After all is said and done, everything points to a NBA Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The real question is, will LeBron James and the Heat get another Larry O’Brien trophy on their way to creating a dominant legacy in South Beach? Or will young Durant and Westbrook begin their legacy en route to creating one of the most talent-packed, and exciting rivalries in NBA history?