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Teams that pose biggest threat to Miami
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 24, 2013 @ 11:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Now that the trade dud-line smoke has cleared and the NBA landscape for this final stretch can be seen, the question remains: Can anyone unseat the Miami Heat?
The defending champions finally look like themselves again, with Sunday’s 109-105 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers giving them 11 in a row and with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade playing like MVP candidates.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins told news reporters recently, “They’re a great, great team. I don’t see any weaknesses.”
The Heat’s most recent loss, fittingly, came against the Indiana Pacers, who might qualify as the only Eastern Conference contender worthy of giving them a run.
With less than two months to go in the regular season, a quick look at two teams that appear worthy of challenging the champs:
Indiana was one of many teams that opted to remain intact at the deadline, and the Pacers have won nine of their last 11 games and have overtaken the reeling New York Knicks for second place in the Eastern Conference.
The timing of their surge couldn’t be better, as small forward Danny Granger — who led the team in scoring the last five seasons — made his long-awaited return Saturday after missing nearly four months because of a knee injury.
Granger struggled in the return (1-for-10 shooting in a win vs. the Detroit Pistons), but his mere presence will be a boon to the team that had the Heat down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May and has been carried this season by first-time All-Star Paul George and veteran David West. In its last 11 games, Indiana has posted wins against the Eastern Conference elite in the Knicks, the Chicago Bulls and the Heat and have won their last four games by an average of 27 points.
San Antonio Spurs
While the Heat’s 2012 Finals foe, the Oklahoma City Thunder, look vulnerable in the Western Conference after losing seven of their last 15 games entering Sunday, the annual debate over whether the Spurs should be seen as title contenders has begun anew.
The ageless Spurs have made a habit of this since they last won it all … [For more on The two teams that pose biggest threat to Miami Heat, click here.]
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