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The five teams that could win 2013 NBA Finals
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 4, 2013 @ 12:00 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson says his team is a contender for the NBA title.
That might be true in the sense that the Knicks (35-21) could finish as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and reach the conference finals.
But whether it’s the third-place Knicks, the second-place Indiana Pacers (37-22) or even the surprising Chicago Bulls (34-25) without Derrick Rose, unseating the defending champion Miami Heat as the best in the East will be a monumental task.
After a sluggish first half Sunday at Madison Square Garden that included 8-for-19 shooting from the field in the second quarter and six turnovers, the Heat dismantled the Knicks over the final 24 minutes and won 99-93. Capping the scoring with an exclamation point was a powerful, one-handed dunk by LeBron James.
The Heat (43-14) have a seven-game lead on the Pacers and are 7½ up on the Knicks. The first victory against New York in three meetings this season extended Miami’s winning streak to a franchise record-tying 14 games.
They won with an impressive display of offense and defense in the second half, led by James, who had 29 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
“His motor is limitless, and I don’t want to take it for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James.
The Heat don’t have it wrapped up; they are 0-2 vs. the Pacers, whom they’ll host Sunday. But in a seven-game series, it’s getting harder to see a team in the East beating the Heat. Still, as USA TODAY Sports takes a look at five teams most likely to win the NBA championship this season, the Knicks make the list.
MIAMI HEAT: Wade, supporting cast hitting stride
James is in great position to collect his fourth MVP award because more impressive than his stats — 27.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals a game — is his command of the game. He seemingly always makes the right play and rarely forces a shot, and it has resulted in the best shooting percentage of his career from the field (56.3%) and on … [For more on The five teams that could win 2013 NBA Finals, click here.]
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