2012 NBA Playoffs: Here comes the Heat

I am sticking with my preseason predictions:

My preseason prediction:

Eastern Conference Champion: The Miami Heat. Chicago and New York will push the Heat to the brink, but the Heat still maintain a slight edge with Wade, James and Bosh.

Chicago would have been a tough challenge for the Heat if they still had 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. Without Rose I don’t see the Bulls posing a threat to the Heat. The Knicks have been ravaged by injury and pose no real threat to Heat. It looks like the “old” Celtics, who still have some fight in them, may be the Heat’s most formidable playoff opposition in the East. I like the Celts, but I just don’t think they can stop the Heat this year.

My preseason prediction:

Western Conference Champion: The Oklahoma City Thunder. I probably would have picked the Dallas Mav’s if they had retained the services of center Tyson Chandler, but he was a big loss, especially on the defensive end of the court. Picking up Lamar Odom certainly helps the Mav’s, but not enough to surpass the young and talented Thunder squad in my view.

The West has a very strong group of teams in playoffs this year. OKC had a great season and have largely lived up to the high expectations placed on them, but they have serious competition from the San Antonio Spurs and the LA Lakers. I can see any of those three teams advancing to the Finals, but I still give a slight edge to the Thunder because of their of youth.
My preseason prediction:

Champion: The Miami Heat. I hate making this pick, but I have to if I’m going to be honest. I don’t think this will be the beginning of a dynasty, but this “Dream Team” should be good for at least one ring. If they fail to win a championship this season then they should trade at least one member of their vaunted big three.

I’ll stand by what I wrote last year. The Heat should win it all this year and if they don’t then look for some big changes on that team.

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