Blogtable: Who Can Beat The Heat?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 17: Playoff-bound but in trouble | Who can stop the Heat? | Do you want Derrick Rose back at 80%?

As well as they’re playing, can anyone beat the Heat?

Steve Aschburner: The Heat aren’t without flaws — protecting the rim and reclaiming shots, most notably — but they have the game’s best player — check that, an all-timer at the peak of his powers — and two more All-Stars to trump most opponents’ talent pool. They know themselves and their game better than when they won last year, they have more confidence and less pressure and they can expect the sort of superstar calls and non-calls, home and road, that can swing any playoff series. Only an injury of some duration to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or maybe Udonis Haslem — LeBron James is excluded because he’s indestructible — can derail these guys.

Fran BlineburyThe Knicks and Pacers are both 2-0 against the Heat this season, so I think both would show up for a playoff series. So, too, I suspect would OKC, despite losing twice. And the Spurs’ deep scrubs — remember Pop-Gate? — nearly took out the Heat. There is little chance that the commissioner’s office will cancel the playoffs and go straight to the parade in Miami.

Jeff CaplanYes. Oklahoma City can. But, it has to be near-flawless to do so. Miami has done a great job defensively against the Thunder going back to the final four games of The Finals. They, like every other team, know Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to handle the ball nearly every possession and that they have to score a lot of points for OKC to be successful. The Heat are one of the few teams with perimeter defenders with the size and speed to contest, pressure and trap, and generally make life very difficult. OKC coach Scott Brooks has resisted going to a smaller lineup against the Heat’s smaller lineup, but after Miami’s blitzing at OKC before the All-Star break, he might finally have to re-think his strategy and limit Kendrick Perkins‘ court time.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Sure. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago people were asking about Miami’s issues? It’s not crazy to think the Thunder or Spurs can win the title, or that the Clippers, while yet to prove themselves at the same level, are in the discussion as well. The Heat advantage is clearly being the best team in their conference, making their path easier than anyone in the West will have to win the final game in June.

John Schuhmann: They’ve always been my pick to win the championship, but I’m not going to guarantee anything at this point. Three reasons. 1. They’re 0-5 against Chicago, Indiana and New York. 2. The Spurs are really, really good. 3. We haven’t reached the trade deadline just yet, and there’s a contender or two who could get better in the next 24 hours.

Sekou Smith: It’s impossible to ignore what the Heat did to the Thunder and several others before the break, serving notice that they have no intention of surrendering the throne to any challengers. That said, I do believe the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers all posses the raw materials to compete with the Heat in The Finals. All three of those teams could end up with home-court advantage, as well, which would be necessary for any team trying to dethrone the Heat. I don’t know if there is an Eastern Conference team capable of dethroning the Heat. The Knicks, Pacers and Bulls (with Derrick Rose) would appear to be the only teams with a chance of making the Heat sweat a little bit on their way to The Finals. But all of these teams are going to be hard-pressed to unseat the Heat.


  1. Plus as long as the playoffs are called consistently unlike last years in favor of miami-miami might not make it past the 2nd round-just as long as there’s no favoritism!!! Favoritism will be the Celts biggest contender & they will play thru it-like i said you forgot the Celtics have The Truth & KG who always rise to the occasion when the chips are down or up!!!

  2. @ kinantot-ok it’s obvious your an A!! kissing heat fan-news flash, in the playoffs the Celtics are who heat are most concerned with. Yeah we lost Rondo for the rest of the season & Ray turned down Celts better contract that offered a no trade clause & lost Sully on injury-Celts are still going to be one of the toughest east contenders who can beat the heat in playoffs-so i haven’t forgot anything. Even w/o Rondo nobody in the east want to face Celts in playoffs period-You & yall seem to forget that Celts have The Truth in Pierce & KG-watch come playoffs-mark them words!

  3. Kinantot ko asawa ni Kobe says:

    You’re Dreaming Right???? W/out Rondo on a 7 game series??? Ohh You forgot that Ray allen is OURS now…. Just go to sleep…W/your buddy laker fans…. They don’t have a chance….

  4. Marco29 says:

    In the East: Pacers of Bulls (if Rose retrurns at 100%). Celtics has a shot last year but without Rondo, they are not a real threat.
    In the West: Spurs or Clippers have more chances than Thunder. Poblem: they would have to beat the Thunder to move to The Finals and that’s a tough one.

    • Wilson Subris says:

      Who can beat the Miami Heat? The answer to that is the Heat themselves will do some silly things enough to beat themselves. Le Bron was exceptional last season. But remember the other more than 5 seasons when he couldn’t stay at that peak consistently to win important games like the championships?

      There are still chances that the heat will not be as mistake free through out the play offs. Someone either the Pacers or New York will match up with them, and man….”We thought they were like gods”.

  5. zzxzetetry says:

    if i were right………
    no team can beat the heat in a 7 game series…..
    thay have endurance that other teams didnt have….
    OKC was beaten because they dominated their hungriness for the crown….

  6. Lild says:

    The Knicks or bulls can seriously upset the Heat

  7. Beanz says:

    Remember last year?

    Many people thought Spurs, OKC, Indiana, Chicago, NY, Boston all could beat the Heat. But they didn’t. (Spurs didn’t get a chance).

    Teams have improved, sure, but so has Miami. Wade is healthy, Ray Allen adds another deadly 3 shooter, Chalmers is a hugely improved player. LeBron is simply off the charts.

    Miami lost one of their “Big 3” for a long stretch of the playoffs and still got it done. Barring another injury they have it locked up.

  8. Just saying says:

    I think the key to beat the heat is to limit the turnovers,the do a lot of damage on the fastbreak and most of them come from steals…if a team can limit their turnovers,they have a good chance at beating the heat,another thing thing is offensive rebounding,that way the heat will settle on the half court offence which I think they’ll have a hard time when the other team has a good defensive Center in the middle. So I think the Knicks and the pacers have a good shot so as the bulls,though they won’t have enough offensive threat without rose…in the west,I think San Antonio and Memphis have a good chance…okc commits too many turnovers that’s why they’ve beaten by the heat twice this year

  9. Franz says:

    If the Heat can get through the Leastern Conference without barely a scratch, they will be tough to beat in the Finals. The West Conference teams will be bashing each other based on number of contending teams and one would think the fatigue factor coming out of the West would favour Miami.

    If Miami, New York, Indiana or even Boston make it through to the Finals with difficulty, it’s hard to imagine them topping the Spurs, Clippers or Thunder

  10. Justo Garcia says:

    Save all the drama and let’s jus jump the Miami Heat Parade.

  11. heat305 says:

    just maybe pacers, spurs and clippers. lol which in a 7-game series i doubt.

  12. heat305 says:

    By d time the Heat are done with your so-called teams, all u will blame it on are d refs. A fair shot might be pacers, spurs or clippers. Other than that, in a 7-game series MIA got it. Good luck guessing.

  13. mike the big0 says:

    here is how the heat are beat: your defense has to hold the the heat’s offense to below their average. guard james aggressively but DO NOT double team him. what he scores he scores. be physical with him. i repeat DO NOT double team him! the key to beating the heat is your defense has to hold down the heat’s offense (minus james) to below their shooting average. if your defense is able to do that, james will be of no consequence.

  14. connor says:

    Indiana has the best chance out of all the league to defeat the heat in a best of seven. Remember. We have beaten the heat twice now with lance stephenson guarding wade. When danny comes back we will have the best defensive two and three in the league arguably. Danny gives james all sorts of problems. And i think paul george should be a legitimate mvp candidate. Go pacers!!!

  15. I would say that the Heat are amongst the leaders. I think that San Antonoi, The Thunder and above all my Clippers have a very good chance to knock them off. I wonder though if they can make it past Indiana or if healthy the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics don’t have a chance in h@#$.. Go Clippers and the Spurs they are a tough act to follow.

  16. Erick says:

    The Heat won’t make it to the finals, there will be an upset! Remember this statement when they get knocked out of the playoffs. Go Bulls!!!

  17. Scisca says:

    How can Shaq not include Spurs? They are the best team in the NBA this season, they had an incredible run in the Play-offs last year until something broke down in game 3. But are the winners? Yes. Are they Champions? Yes. Are they playing good? Yes. Do they have a great coach? Yes. It is disturbing to ignore them outright, while including Clippers, which do not stand a chance against the Spurs in a Bo7

    • Marco29 says:

      Maybe Shaq still hates the Spurs from his Lakers days. Otherwise, I don’t see how he -or anyone else- could leave the Spurs out of the discussion when he comes to challenging the Heat. Maybe they are the onlyones who could stop Miami from repeating (even though Indiana will be a tough challenge in the East).

  18. Reality says:

    Heat v Spurs .. That will be the finals……..

    Sweep for heat = Payback for lebron

    • Marco29 says:

      No way. Spurs are currenlty the best team in the league and have eveyrhing needed to upset the Heat: defense, bench, 3 point shooting and incide presence. They are pobably the best chance in the West to defeat Miami.

  19. Karlo Garcia says:

    With 1,2 PF/C

  20. Karlo Garcia says:

    Indian Pacers. The last time they played Pacers they dominated in the paint. The Heats weaknesses r C. Playing a half court game can beat the Heat.

  21. cm punk says:

    SAS-4 4-MIA
    UTA-1 1-MIL
    SAS-4 4-MIA
    DEN-2 2-BKN
    MEM-3 4-BKN
    DEN-4 3-CHI
    SAS-3 OKC-2 4-MIA
    OKC-4 MIA-4 2-NYK
    LAC-4 4-NYK
    HOU-2 2-ATL
    OKC-4 3-IND
    LAC-2 4-NYK
    OKC-4 4-IND
    GSW-1 2-BOS


  22. KnickerBocker says:

    Clippers. They have a strong enough starting lineup enough to hold off d-wade bosh. LeBron will dominate but the clips willl have a fair share of points. then comes the big advantage clippers. clipper bench vs heat bench.just 2 good chris paul is a great clutch player they are the team.

    Spurs. with there slow play not what miamis used 2 thentony parker usually top 5 in points in the paint will pick n pop. Tim Duncan huge post advantage over bosh thats 20 points right there.then the kick outs 2 manu ginobili firing off the bench.dominating once again miamis weak bench acception ray allen reshard lewis n mike miller although not great defenders just 3 point shooters.

    SLight contenders: golden state, memphis,okc,houston,nyc,celtics

  23. lakerslakerslakers says:

    the knicks might have the winning formula….after all they have some players from the ’11 Mavs that shut the Heat down.

  24. TTKIN says:

    Steve said now that the Heat have won they will be getting the superstar calls and non-calls…I dont get how that is any different from the last 2 years. The Heat get more calls than anyone in basketball.

    • Worshaka says:

      It’s also a bit worrying that we acknowledge that teams aren’t officiated on an even playing field. Why isn’t this something we are worried about?

  25. Clippssss says:

    Clippers have just as much of a chance to beat the Heat in a 7 game series just like the Thunder.

    • Worshaka says:

      While I like the Clippers, I have to say that in a playoff series when points get hard to get, who do the Clips turn to? I don’t think Griffin can get his own shot with effeciency just yet. You’re pretty much relying on Paul and maybe Crawford. I think the Heat just put wade or James on Paul and that’s going to make it difficult for him to score.

      I think it’s hard to judge the Heat just now. I think they’re crusing, not really hitting their straps knowing that they just need to turn it on during the playoffs. Will be interesting to see if they do kick it up a gear.

  26. The Heat & the Pacers should face off in the Finals

    • kimberly says:

      Pacers and Heat cannot b in the finals-both East teams. Pacers will win the championship. Blue Collar-Gold Swagger!

  27. 7ft2 TRUE BIG MAN says:

    if the refs would put the whistle away and let guys play more , theres a lot of teams that could beat the heat , im against star players getting the Jordan treatment with the whistle everytime someone breathes on them , lol and that streak earlier this yr with LeBron not commiting a foul in 200 minutes or whatever was a joke , he’s as physical of a defender as there is but somehow he never commits a foul ??? come on zebras call these games both ways , don’t just favor the heat to appease the angel of stern.

    • bigwes95 says:

      i like lebron, but when i heard that he hasn’t gotten a foul in over 200 minutes i was even thinking that’s too extreme. the games aren’t completely one sided as you think though. lebron only averages 6.7 free throws compared to KD’s 9.3. over two and a half free throws more than lebron. westbrook averages 6.9 compared to wade’s 6.4 free throws. so the fact that you say the games are completely one sided is going against OKC more than the heat, which many people find strange.

  28. Rico says:

    If Miami meets OKC in the finals then, it will be Miami in 5.
    They just match up well against OKC.
    OKC can beat all teams anyday, twice on sundays. But they will have a hard time against Heat.

    Main problem for OKC is who will guard James. Heat has Battier for Durant, hence making James fresh comes the 4th Quarter to guard KD. but OKC has no one to guard James.

    back to the topic.
    in the west, I will give Clippers or the Spurs having a better chance against Heat
    while in the east – Boston and Pacers

    If Heat meets Boston in the 1st round, Heat might lose in first round.

    • uoykcuf says:

      You give too much credit to the Cs, they are on a roll right now but they don’t have Rondo, Barbosa and jared. They added TW though it won’t help a lot. I think they will miss this year’s playoffs with Phil and mil creeping up.
      12 home games and 18 away so schedule wise not in their favour as well.
      Would love to see Phil/Mil/Tor against Miami.

  29. Bstarr says:

    Good question! I would say there are 4 teams able to destroy Miami’s main goal this season.

    1. Celtics: did you forget the East conference finals 2012? Celtics were up 3-2 and Miami had their come-back from Chris Bosh (shooting 3 points..) what turned things around. Who gave Boston a chance…..Celtics are the kryptonite of the Heat. The way Doc Rivers makes them play strong defense might hurt Miami again (looking at their latest game against Miami, even without Rajon Rondo)

    2. OKC: Oh yeah!! Don’t think that if we get the same final as last year that Miami will win this one easy. Scott Brooks must bench Kendrick Perkins and let Serge Ibaka defend more (put him as a center), Durant, Westbrook and Martin can take on the 3 of Miami.

    3. NY: if someone else besides Melo & JR Smith can stand up and score then the Knicks are a dangerous opponent for Miami. Key player is Chandler, Miami does not have a dominant center. Only thing here is that no one on their team is able to stop LBJ defensively. So they must make a lot of baskets to keep the pressure on the Heat.

    4. Pacers: The way they play their last game against the Heat says enough. Young and energized, good shooting and an amazing David West. Pacers have a center, like Boston & NY this is a defensive advantage. This can be a surprise this year in the playoffs.

    To finish: Clippers, Nuggets, Spurs, Bulls or Nets….all good teams, great players but all not able to beat Miami in a best of 7. You can bet your chicken wings on that!!

    • DJ3 says:

      If the celts can do it, denver, san antonio, and chicago (with drose) can also. Did you forget about the roster moves and injuries for both boston and miami?

    • Game Time says:

      If Rondo was playing, if barbosa wasn’t injured, if KG doesn’t get traded. All those are the ifs I would need for me to believe Celtics can beat Miami. Didn’t do it last year when they had the chance. I highly doubt it happens this one.

    • KnickerBocker says:

      I disagree with okc. they play a quick attack game. which miami defends that kind of play very firmly. celtics can. they have played miami many time but no rondo,no excelllent ball movement or points in the paint with all that pick n roll.knicks i am a fan but they dont hav enough talent 2 stop miami but they can win2-3 games. pacers can only push 2 a game 7. its really a small advantage Lebron is only better than granger but, no more collison.

  30. theholyspectator says:

    id say as far as east goes maybe the pacers…knicks, once they are heavily guarded on the perimeter its not gonna work in there id have to say pacers is the only team that has a chance, maybe bulls if drose does come back but he would have to be 100% to do any damage..which they did try that back in 2010-11 season and got their butts handed to em by the champs…but in the end i dont feel anyone from the east in a 7 game series can beat the heat…they are just too much, its insane to watch them swarm all over the opponents on defense..and their offense is insane! as far as the west goes…its gonna come down to OKC or SPURS…i think spurs are done, they cant handle OKC’s young as ive been callin it all year long, its gonna be a rematch of last years finals and we are gonna see the same team win again…miami repeats..its lebrons time..hes gonna get his next 4-5 rings

  31. Game Time says:

    Of course they can be beaten, but if we had to base the finals predictions off what’s happended so far then it would be Miami repeating vs OKC or possibly the Spurs. Pacers are a threat to the Heat, but I think Miami will take them more seriously this time around if they meet again. Not to mention Miami has a better team now than last playoffs.

  32. Orin C says:

    Probably the Pacers are the only legit East contender to beat the Heat. Let’s be serious here, guys. I know your editors want variety but let’s unanimously say “Pacers + top two West teams” and call it a day.

  33. steppx says:

    I think memphis takes the biggest drop. Management sold them out….not just in the gay trade, but before that by selling off the bench. Terrible…its hard psychologically to make the big push needed. As for who can beat miami….indiana can, and if rose is back, even at 85%, then chicago might, too. In the west, OKC if they get gortat, look lethal….but westbrook remains an achilles heel for them. The Spurs might be the best team in the league right now, including miami. Denver is the dark horse…..not the clips.

  34. steppx says:

    I think the biggest drop off is going to be memphis. Its hard psychologically for a team to make that big push when management sold them out. Its not just the gay trade, if was selling off the bench. I think the warriors bounce back a bit. As for who can beat miami, I think Indiana has the potential. Paul George has emerged as a real elite player this year. In the west I actually favor San Antonio and possibly OKC, who, if they get gortat, are clearly a lethal looking team. Denver has a wild card shot……….dont know why people dont believe that. Clippers no way. They just are not quite good enough…..same as the knicks in the east.