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Are Heat still best in NBA?
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 31, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
A quick look at the five-game NBA schedule for Sunday, March 31, ranking games by watchability (all times p.m. Eastern):
MUST-WATCH: Miami Heat (57-15) at San Antonio Spurs (55-17), 7, NBATV
So here’s the thing: 55-17 in the Western Conference might as well be 57-15 in the Eastern Conference. And these teams have only met once before, with the Heat winning a lawsuit-worthy home game back in November. That one doesn’t count. So who is the best team in the NBA? Well, the Heat have a slightly better point differential at 8.0 to the Spurs’ 7.7, but the 54-20 Oklahoma City Thunder beat both with a 9.2 differential. Given that the Thunder are 1-4 against the Heat and Spurs, we’re disqualifying them from the conversation for the moment.
The Heat have played one more game against losing teams, and that’s where their advantage lies: 32-4 to 29-6 against opponents with sub-.500 records. Miami also is 5-1 in overtime to San Antonio’s 4-3, which certainly helps but also could be considered a sign of skill in the clutch.
It can’t be overlooked that the Heat play in the worst division in the NBA while the Spurs play in the best. San Antonio is 12-3 against the Southwest Division, but Miami is 12-1 against the Southeast, which includes the two worst teams in the NBA (the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats) and the team that spent much of the first half with that crown before getting hot recently (the Washington Wizards).
So for right now, the best solution is to say the winner of this game probably is the best team in the NBA. The Spurs haven’t been on a historic tear like the Heat, but they have been more consistent throughout the season and dealt with more adversity via injuries to nearly every key player on their roster. Of course, that may change as the Spurs play at the Memphis Grizzlies, Thunder and Denver Nuggets in the first 10 days of April. Win all four of these big games, and there won’t be much doubt.
2. Boston Celtics (38-34) at New York Knicks (45-26), 7:30
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