NBA Eastern Conference
It is strange to think that the NBA all-star break is upon us already and, with a season that is going to be very compressed, we should now start looking at some teams that we think have a good chance to make the Eastern Conference finals. So here is a breakdown of three NBA teams that I think have a good chance of making the conference finals.
1. With the Miami Heat trading at roughly 8/11 for the Eastern conference title, I don’t think I need to tell you that they are the favourites to win both the Eastern conference and the NBA Championship and it is very easy to see why. Miami boast the best record in the Eastern conference at the moment and they have three powerful star players in Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. With the season being so short and games happening on a much more frequent basis it is even more important to have depth this season because injuries are more likely and players will need to be rested for the playoffs. Miami certainly have depth in their squad and you would certainly think that Miami will at least make the conference finals and that it will take a special performance by any team to beat them over a 7 game series.
2. Another team that cannot be ignored are the Chicago Bulls; while they cannot be compared to the Michael Jordan Bulls of old they certainly look like the most likely team to rival the Heat for an Eastern Conference title. After passing the half way point in the season the Bulls are just a half game back in the conference standings and, while Miami rank first in points scored per game, the Bulls are right on their tail in second place. Not only that but it could be said that the Bulls have a more unified defensive front which is evident in the fact that they are second overall defensively in the conference while Miami are just eighth. However, the Bulls are relying on their one star player Derrick Rose. Rose missed a several games in early February during stretch where the Bulls lost to Boston and New Jersey. If the Bulls are to have any hope in defeating the Heat, Rose must stay healthy and in my opinion they must finish top of the regular season conference in order to secure home field advantage over Miami.
3. A surprise team at the moment might be the New York Knicks. With the emergence of Jeremy Lin, who is America’s new golden boy, the Knicks have looked very strong in their last 10 games as they have a 7-3 record beating Dallas and the Lakers during that stretch. If Lin is the real deal then the Knicks will have three legitimate star players in Lin, Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. It may take them some time to learn how to play together as one unit especially with Lin’s inexperience but they certainly are a team to consider as they have a very solid bench with four or five players that are very proficient from beyond the three point line. With a record of just 18-18 for the season though it is hard to support them as they may not even reach the playoffs, but if they do get there they could be a team that might cause an upset.