Home » Blog » NBA East: Miami is still the team to beat

NBA East: Miami is still the team to beat

Once again, the Miami Heat sit atop the NBA Eastern Conference as the season nears the figurative halfway point, the annual All Star break. Most basketball experts started the season believing the Eastern Conference was Miami’s to lose and even though Miami has struggled at times staying focused in games or rebounding, it does not look like they are going to be unseated at the top any time soon.

Miami currently has a record of 28-12, winners of four straight, 13-7 in conference play, 18-3 at home and two games in front of second place New York in the conference standings.

Miami at this time is lacking in focus on the defensive end and on rebounding efficiency. However, they have the league’s top player and having won the championship last season knows how long the season is and knows when to peak at the right time.

Even though the Heat only leads New York by two games and the Chicago Bulls by three, they have the least to prove. Other teams know how strong the Heat is when all of their players are healthy and the team has complete focus on the court.

On the other hand, the Heat’s three biggest rivals in the East the Knicks, Bulls and Indiana Pacers still must prove they have the talent and ability to keep up with the Heat when they go into high gear.

Indiana, even though they are currently tied for fourth in the conference, has a very good chance of staying with the Heat as they have one of the best defenses in the league.

The offense for the Pacers is suspect, but the team is very balanced and their strong defense will keep them in games, giving their offense a chance to win games late. Part of the Pacers’ problem on offense has been the absence the entire season of Danny Granger, the team high scorer last season. Granger however should return after the All Star break and that will help the team tremendously.

With the way the Pacers take away shot opportunities with their defense and shot blocking capabilities, Indiana might have the best shot at giving the Heat a run for their money in conference play the second half of the season.

Currently third in the east is Chicago and they are slowly moving up the ladder. The Bulls have won three straight and seven of their past 10. Chicago has a very good conference record of 20-6 and see their star player Derrick Rose making great strides in returning from his ACL injury. However, for the Bulls to reach the next level and that means compete with the Heat, Rose will have to return early enough to be in game shape as the playoffs approach and he will need to have that explosive blast of power off the dribble that he had before his serious injury.

Currently in second place, the New York Knicks have played well all season, but besides Carmel Anthony, do not have the players with the experience or talent to stay at the top level for all 82 games and then the playoffs.

If I had to bet on the final Eastern Conference standings at season’s end, it would be Miami, Chicago, Indiana and then New York.

  • 100%