After the Brooklyn Nets swept the regular season series against the Miami Heat to become the first team to accomplish such an achievement in the LeBron James era, everyone around the league talked about a potential nightmare matchup for the defending champs during the postseason. The Heat supposedly wanted to avoid the Nets in the postseason and rather take on any other team, the Indiana Pacers included. However, in the season finale the Nets fell to the sixth seed in the East and now, they started their Eastern Conference Semis series against LeBron James and Co. In Game 1 of this series, the Heat dominated, blowing out Jason Kidd’s group by 21 points. So, what can we really say about the Heat or the Nets? Will the defending champs meet any resistance from Brooklyn? Or will they easily roll past Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the rest of the company?
Well, if I had to place a bet on this series, I would definitely go with the Heat and here are five reasons why I believe the Heat will stroll against Brooklyn.
No. 1: It’s the playoffs
And you might now be wondering what I am talking about? Well, first of all, the Heat didn’t really care much about their regular season record. They knew that they would finish at one of the two top spots in the East and instead of worrying about making it to the top – they let the Indiana Pacers fighting to achieve that – they tried to conserve their powers for the postseason. In two of the four games Brooklyn won during the regular season Dwyane Wade was absent. And now watch this. Let’s see the point margins in those four losses:
It now becomes crystal clear that none of those Brooklyn victories came easy. So, during the playoffs and due to the fact that now it’s the time that the Heat will show some urgency, we can expect Miami to hold the upper hand.
No. 2: LeBron’s perimeter defense
LeBron will certainly be the main contributor of the offensive end for Erik Spoelstra’s group. Nevertheless, Miami can be confident that King James can also shut down any offensive weapon the Nets hold on the other end of the floor on offense. Joe Johnson really killed the Toronto Raptors in the perimeter as he outplayed any defender the Raptors tried to put on him. However, the same can’t be say in the case of the Miami Heat. LeBron can easily guard Johnson or even Deron Williams, if the superstar point guard becomes the one to cause the biggest part of the damage for Miami. LeBron is such a versatile and unique player that he can guard literally any player the Nets throw on the court.
No. 3: Fatigue
Some say that playing a seven – game series just keeps you in rhythm and on the other hand, if a team stays out of action for several days, it might be rusty during the next game, following that break. We just didn’t see that happening last night, as the Heat were anything but out of rhythm. On the contrary, it might be the Brooklyn Nets who are fatigue. Brooklyn has been going at full throttle almost all season long, at first due to the struggles early in the season and after that due to the fact that they were chasing a better seed. The Nets had to give their 110 percent to escape with a close victory in Game 7 of their first round matchup against the Toronto Raptors. The Heat on the other hand cruised on auto pilot all season long and they entered this series after several days of rest, as they beat the Charlotte Bobcats after just four games. So when it comes to fatigue, the Heat hold a big advantage. In addition, the Nets’ core is aging unlike the Heat’s one, which is at its prime.
No. 4: Matchups
The Miami Heat hold the advantage in almost any matchup, in any position, against the Brooklyn Nets. Now, don’t get me wrong here, Deron Williams is for sure a better player than Mario Chalmers. Nevertheless, Rio is a terrific defender and Williams has not been at his best as of lately – or throughout the entire season. Kevin Garnett could stand up firm against Chris Bosh, but at present CB is clearly playing better than KG, who seems to be affected by age. Although Dwyane Wade could have some issues guarding Joe Johnson and the Nets could exploit some matchups when Erik Spoelstra throw in their secondary unit, the margins are so close that they could barely make some difference.
No. 5: Miami’s desire to three-peat
Let’s face it. When it comes to winning a championship, it may all come down to who wants it more. There are a few teams capable of making it to the NBA Finals this year but I am not that sure if all of them are really focused on the ultimate target, to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. I am not that much certain that this year’s Brooklyn Nets, after whatever they’ve been through and with the current roster they have are capable of topping Miami’s desire to three – peat. Whilst King James and his company won two in a row, the Heat haven’t lost their motivation at all. LeBron, Wade and Bosh want to stay at the top, keep their team successful and their fans happy. For sure Joe Johnson and Deron Williams are great athletes. And certainly Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are true fighters. Nonetheless, I highly doubt that what the Nets possess can allow them to knock the surging Miami Heat out of their road towards the three-peat.