Lebron James & Norris Cole celebrate during Charlotte Bobcats series

The East’s Only Beast

Lebron James & Norris Cole celebrate during Charlotte Bobcats series

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

 

It seems foolish now, only a few weeks after the fact.  But it’s true, it’s true – there was legitimate doubt as to who would emerge from the NBA’s Eastern Conference and make it to the NBA Finals just a few short weeks ago.  That doubt, for all intents and purposes, has been squashed.  It’s the Heat, and only the Heat.

It’s not just the fact that Miami steamrolled through Charlotte in the first round – that was pretty much to be expected.  It’s more a case of Miami being the heavy, heavy favourite to emerge from the East due to default.  Behold this rogues gallery of the Heats other “challengers” in the East:

Indiana

Ugh – where to start?  First they have to win the next two games versus Atlanta or they won’t even make it out of the first round.  And that’s no given, as this team has been absolutely horrible over the past month or so.  Roy Hibbert is as invisible as a 7’2″ man can be, Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner are ‘allegedly’ busy feeding each other knuckle sandwiches, and Paul George is being heckled… at home!  Good times, good times.

Atlanta

A nice story so far, but c’mon – a challenger to the Heat?  You serious?

Toronto

If you’ve been paying attention to Toronto media, DeMar DeRozan has emerged as a “star” these playoffs.  Didn’t realize that shooting 36% and having more turnovers than assists made him the second coming of Jordan.  If that is Toronto’s understanding of greatness, then they really don’t have any chance against Miami – if they even get by Brooklyn (big IF).

Brooklyn

The Nets a challenger to the Heat?  Not unless you own a DeLorean and crank the clock back to 2008.

Chicago

They’re about to be bounced by Washington.  At least we don’t have to hear the “will he, or won’t he return” talk about Derrick Rose this year.

Washington

A breakthrough season for them, but making it to the second round will constitute a successful year.

Before the playoffs rolled around, you could have bet on the Heat to win the East and get -120 odds, which works out to Miami being given a 55% chance of being the 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Champions.  Whoever was wise enough to take the bookies up on that offer is very happy right now (I see you, Treevor).

 

 

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Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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