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How LeBron James found his focus these playoffs

How LeBron James found his focus these playoffs | Miami sports media | Scoop.it

Helin: "Finding his comfort zone started with having his fiancé and two sons join him in Miami. They were still in Akron last year but moved down to Miami during the lockout. But that family is giving him space."

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Miami sports media
Media coverage of Heat, Dolphins, Marlins and Canes
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It's Time

It's Time | Miami sports media | Scoop.it

Heat Playoffs...Dolphins sked...Marlins...Canes Football.

Phil de Montmollin's insight:

It's time to crank up the Miami Sports Media page with Heat playoffs getting started and the Dolphins sked now released. Get all your links in one place here: http://www.scoop.it/t/miami-sports-media

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Riley: Keeping Heat's Big Three intact 'doable'

Riley: Keeping Heat's Big Three intact 'doable' | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Pat Riley has started to examine if he can keep this current Heat team together when the luxury tax penalties become much stiffer starting in 2013-14.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Pat Riley conducted a news conference on Friday.  Here is one take on Riley's comments by Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com.

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NBA Playoffs Shootaround: Great Expectations

NBA Playoffs Shootaround: Great Expectations | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
We asked some of our writers to tell us what they're expecting from the upcoming NBA playoffs. Jay Caspian Kang: Miami will go 16-3 in the playoffs,
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Grantland's staff writers take turns in talking NBA playoffs. Plenty of wit in this piece, yet Jay Caspian Kang is the only one who discusses the Heat: "Miami will go 16-3 in the playoffs, and one of the losses will come to the Bucks. They'll also lose a game to the Knicks and the last one to the Thunder in the Finals. They're the first team since the first Ubuntu Celtics that's going to legitimately intimidate their opponents."

 

 

 

 

 

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NBA Heat brush off Jennings' comments - ESPN

NBA Heat brush off Jennings' comments - ESPN | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat have heard Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings loud and clear. But they're...
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Can Dolphins survive early schedule?

Can Dolphins survive early schedule? | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The NFL did not take it easy on the up-and-coming Miami Dolphins. Miami, a team some believe could make a playoff push, has a brutal first five games
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker calls Miami's first five games "brutal" and draws the following conclusion: "Due to the NFL's scheduling, we will know right away whether the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders. Any team that can come out of this brutal, five-game stretch with a winning record deserves to be taken seriously. But if the Dolphins are 1-4 or 0-5 by early October, they simply would be another team which couldn't live up to the offseason hype."

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Miami Marlins Preaching Patience to the Empty Seats

Miami Marlins Preaching Patience to the Empty Seats | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The Marlins, who are off to a 3-12 start and who rank second to last in the majors in attendance, are having a tough go in Miami, where fans have felt burned by ownership.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

New York Times chimes in on the state of the Miami Marlins.  Story by Tyler Kepner.

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5-on-5: East playoffs

5-on-5 roundtable: Our experts pick the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Three of these five ESPN.com bloggers like the Heat in five games over the Bucks, while the other two predict a four-game sweep by Miami.

 

Mike Wallace (ESPN.com), James Herbery (Hardwood Paraxysm), Brian Robb (Celtics Hubb) and Jared Wade (8 Points, 9 Seconds) all pick the Heat to win it all.  Jim Cavan (KnickBlogger) likes the Knicks to upset Miami and win the championship.

 

Here's what Cavan states about the Knicks: "Give Glen Grunwald dap for piecing together a roster custom-built to give Miami fits. But beyond matters of matchups and strategy, there's this: The Knicks are just crazy enough to expect to win. A team coalescing around palpable chemistry, a scoring machine desperate to summit, and 40 years of pent-up angst -- the perfect recipe for some crisp new Garden rafter heraldry."

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Why the Miami Heat will win the NBA title

Why the Miami Heat will win the NBA title | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The Miami Heat have the best player in the league: forward LeBron James. They have one of the best shooting guards in the league: Dwyane Wade. They have one of the best big men in the league: Chris Bosh.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

The USA Today's Jeff Zillgest picks the Heat to win it all: "It won't be easy for Miami. Opponents have come after Miami all season and they will do so in the playoffs. Of the last nine teams to finish with the best regular-season record, only one (2007-08 Boston Celtics) won the title, and since the Los Angeles Lakers' three-peat in 2000, 2001 and 2002, only one franchise has repeated: the 2009 and 2010 Lakers.

 

But Boston coach Doc River's biggest concern regarding James was that if he won one championship and learned what it takes to win one, it will be difficult to stop him from winning multiple rings.

 

Rivers often knows what he's talking about."

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What to expect from teams leading up to the NBA Finals

What to expect from teams leading up to the NBA Finals | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The NBA toughened its anti-flopping rules for the playoffs, perhaps giving the Lakers an unintended nudge.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times is high on Miami heading into the NBA playoffs (gotta love the Golden Girls and Dayton, Ohio references): "Miami has put the fear of LeBron James in the rest of the NBA, with the league's best player somehow improving while helping his team attain the top seeding in the Eastern Conference — by 12 games.  The Heat's first-round opponent, sub-.500 Milwaukee, is so bad that it should be shipped to Dayton, Ohio, for a play-in game.

 

Among other alleged challengers in the East, New York has not won a playoff series since 2000, Indiana is missing its most dynamic player in Danny Granger and Brooklyn's Big Three pose about as much of a threat to their Miami counterparts as "The Golden Girls'" Blanche, Rose and Dorothy would in a pickup game in South Beach.

 

So let's dispense with the formalities and pencil in Miami to reach the Finals. You can use a Sharpie if you'd like."

 

 

Bolch picks an OKC-MIA rematch in the finals, while having some fun with Derek Fisher: "Here's guessing Oklahoma City wins the West, setting up a Finals rematch against Miami. It's tempting to go with the Thunder until you remember it no longer has Harden and the Heat still has James.

 

Oklahoma City does have Fisher, who at 38 is more likely to make news for a flopping fine than a clutch shot.

 

As a friendly reminder, there are no warnings for faking contact in the playoffs; the league is imposing a $5,000 fine for the first offense.

 

Fisher has bigger worries, of course. There are worse kinds of flops in the playoffs."

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Seven NBA playoff story lines to watch

Seven NBA playoff story lines to watch | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
After weeks of trying to predict seedings and matchups while watching teams rest their perfectly healthy superstars, the playoffs are finally upon us.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Pro Basketball Talk's Brett Pollakoff lists the Heat's potential repeat as one of seven NBA playoff story lines to watch: "This is the question we all want answered. Miami ran roughshod over the rest of the league during the regular season, and just about everyone fully expects them to continue the trend throughout the playoffs. The Heat have the best player in the game in LeBron James, and All-Star complimentary pieces in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that are a wealth of riches when compared to the rosters of other teams Miami might face on the way to a title.

 

The Heat aren’t just the favorites to repeat as champions; they’ve become the expectation. The way they finished the regular season by winning 37 of their final 39 games is absolutely absurd, and they did so even while resting their best players at times along the way.

 

It’s gotten to the point where we’d all be surprised if Miami didn’t win the title again this season. But that won’t make the journey any less exciting to watch."

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10 Players to Watch in the NBA Playoffs

10 Players to Watch in the NBA Playoffs | Miami sports media | Scoop.it

Who are the ten players you should pay attention to in the NBA Playoffs? Sam Amico has the answer to that question.

Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Sam Amico FOXSports.com provides a list in slide-show format of the 10 players to watch in the NBA playoffs.  Dwayne Wade is no. 6 on Amico's list: "Aging before our eyes and no doubt playing second banana to that LeBron character, Wade’s still got game. And just like we learned in last year’s series vs. the Pacers, he’ll need to step forward if there’s gonna be a repeat." 

 

In addition to Wade, Amico's other nine players to watch are Deron Williams, Tim Duncan, Josh Smith, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Kevin Garnett, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard.

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NBA playoffs first-round expert picks

NBA playoffs first-round expert picks | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The 2013 NBA playoffs first-round playoff predictions.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

The CBSSports.com NBA writers pick each first-round playoff series and provide a "confidence meter" for each specific prediction (i.e. Heat in 4).

 

Ken Berger @KBergCBS - Heat in 4 (100% confidence)

Matt More @MattMooreCBS - Heat in 4 (80% confidence)

Royce Young @DailyThunder - Heat in 4 (90% confidence)

Zach Harper @TalkHoops - Heat in 5 (90% confidence)

 

As for the Heat's potential second-round opponent, three of the four writers picked the Nets to defeat the Bulls in either six or seven games.

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Gutierrez: Key players to watch in East

Who has the most to prove in these playoffs? Israel Gutierrez examines each East series.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

ESPN's Israel Gutierrez (a Miami local) gives his insight on each Eastern Conference first-round series.  He states that Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings is the "Player with most at stake" in the Heat's opening series. 

 

As for how the series will be decided, Gutierrez writes: "Well, this could happen in any number of ways, because the Heat offer such variety.

 

Milwaukee did snatch a game off Miami in December, but all you have to know about how different the Heat are these days is this: Joel Anthony and Josh Harrellson (remember Jorts?) combined to play 25 minutes in that contest. These days, Chris Andersen is the Heat's go-to center, other than Chris Bosh, of course. The Heat are 39-2 in games Andersen has played. That's a sickening .929 winning percentage.

 

The game that best predicts how this series might play out is the Heat's 107-94 win in Milwaukee on March 15, when the Heat were in the midst of their 27-game win streak and clearly in playoff mode.

 

The Heat's Big Three combined for 76 points in that one. Look for more of that here."

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Pat Riley planning to keep Heat core together

Pat Riley planning to keep Heat core together | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Heat president Pat Riley touched on a number of topics in a rare chat with the media Friday.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

More coverage of Pat Riley's press conference from Chris Tomasson of FOXSportsFlorida.com.

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Reds fall to Marlins on ninth-inning homer

Reds fall to Marlins on ninth-inning homer | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Justin Ruggiano homered in the ninth inning against Aroldis Chapman to lift the Marlins to a 2-1 win in the second game of a four-game series.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

The Marlins beat the Reds 2-1 last night on a solo home run by Justin Ruggiano.  Here is a game story from the Reds' perspective by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. God bless newspapers.

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The NBA Playoffs' Burning Questions

The NBA Playoffs' Burning Questions | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Can LeBron & Co. be even better? And which team has the best chance to prevent an NBA Finals rematch?
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Grantland's Zach Lowe answers whether the Heat "have another gear".  Lowe is as detailed as any NBA journo out there in breaking down the x's and o's.  If you want to raise your basketball IQ, try this story.

 

Lowe: "In some obvious ways, the Heat will indeed be better in the playoffs. The stars will play more and longer, at least when games are still at stake, and the Heat can minimize or even eliminate lineup combinations that just haven't worked; the Norris Cole–Ray Allen combination, for instance, could be on the chopping block. And though Udonis Haslem's shot has warmed a bit and he holds an important leadership position, the Heat could squeeze his minutes by giving more time to both Chris Andersen and Shane Battier. Several NBA folks expect the Heat to reinsert Battier into the starting lineup at some point, to maximize small ball and better spread the floor from the opening tip.

 

And the Heat's frenetic-by-design defense always has another gear, one we've seen plenty of times — in last season's playoffs, and in all those regular-season games in which Miami morphed into another team with the score tied and eight minutes or so to go. They'll up the urgency in trapping ball handlers on the pick-and-roll, deflect more passes out of those traps, and rotate earlier behind the play. The Bucks have some of the necessary ingredients to serve as a functional warm-up challenge for Miami: three speedy pick-and-roll ball handlers in Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and J.J. Redick, all flying off elbow screens; a deadly pick-and-pop big man in Ersan Ilyasova; and an offensive system that has given Miami some trouble in the past.

 

But those ball handlers lack both the size to pass over Miami's traps promptly and the combination of speed and physicality to take those Heat defenders all the way to the rim. Miami has done a solid job running Ilyasova off the 3-point line.1 Miami should have an easy time containing Milwaukee's threatening players because the Bucks almost have to play one or both of Marquis Daniels and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute at all times to have any shot at defending James and Wade.2 The Heat won't pay those two any attention on the wings, making it even easier for Miami to squeeze Milwaukee's shooters.

 

The real tests will come after Miami's probable first-round sweep, though it's unclear how tough the tests will really be. The league's best defensive teams, including the behemoths (Chicago, Indiana, Memphis) who might be able to bully Miami's small-ball units, typically don't have the scoring/passing/shooting punch to beat the Heat four times in seven games. Oklahoma City and San Antonio have the two-way chops, but the Spurs are banged up, the Thunder's offense might be a hair too predictable and stationary, and the amped-up Oklahoma City defense still has to prove itself against Miami.

 

Miami enters as the favorite.

 

1. He shot just 1-of-5 in four games, with the "5" being the most important number there."

 

2. James did fine against both, shooting 25-of-39 combined against them in half-court situations, per video on Synergy Sports. He's too quick for Mbah a Moute and too strong for Daniels. Ekpe Udoh guarded LeBron on several crunch-time possessions in two different Bucks-Heat games. James shot 5-of-10 total against Udoh, who fared well using his length and footspeed to coax James into jump shots. Guarding LeBron with a traditional big would allow Milwaukee to keep three offense-first guards/wings on the floor without having to hide a second big man on a Miami perimeter player (i.e., Battier). Ellis actually fared respectably against Wade, but he's not disciplined enough to deal with Wade's post game or off-ball cuts."

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In the 2013 N.B.A. Playoffs, It Is LeBron James vs. the World

In the 2013 N.B.A. Playoffs, It Is LeBron James vs. the World | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
The N.B.A. playoffs will begin this weekend, with four games on Saturday, including the Celtics at New York and the Bulls at Brooklyn, and four more on Sunday.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Benjamin Hoffman frames his story previewing the NBA Playoffs with a focus on Lebron James.  He is quick to follow up with notes on Miami's supporting cast however: "There are 15 teams other than the Heat in the playoffs, each with 15 roster spots to work with, making it 225 players who are working their hardest to deny LeBron James of a chance at his second consecutive N.B.A. championship. It may seem dramatic to pit James against the entire league, but during the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, all perceived limits of his ability to take over a game were stripped away.

       

Of course, the Heat’s greatness was not just a product of James’s continued development as a player and leader. Each of the team’s big three — James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — performed as expected, and role players like Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers did their part to solidify the team’s defense and fill in the few spots on offense that James was not taking care of himself.       

 

Not to mention Chris Andersen, the team’s backup center, serving as some form of tattooed and mohawked good-luck charm to the tune of a 39-3 record in the 42 games he played. Birdman, as he is known, seemed to add the size and toughness that Bosh, for all of his offensive polish, could not muster."

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Football Releases Post-Spring Depth Chart

Football Releases Post-Spring Depth Chart | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Three days after the conclusion of spring practices, Miami Hurricanes head football coach Al Golden released his team's post-spring depth chart Tuesday.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

UM returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense from last year's team.  Fourteen seniors, led by QB Stephen Morris, are listed as starters on the latest depth chart, giving UM its most experience in recent memory.

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LeBron James and Miami Heat are favorite for NBA title as Kevin Durant and Thunder are only legit threat

LeBron James and Miami Heat are favorite for NBA title as Kevin Durant and Thunder are only legit threat | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Dominant throughout the regular season, it’s Miami’s championship to lose when the NBA playoffs start this weekend.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News calls it Miami's championship to lose with OKC as the most viable threat.  Lawrence then lists the Spurs and Knicks as "contenders" followed by the Clippers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Pacers and Nets who he calls "pretenders".  He groups the Bulls, Celtics and Lakers together as "sleepers", while calling the Warriors, Rockets, Hawks and Bucks the "no-shots".     

 


 

 

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Former Gators abound in NBA playoffs

Former Gators abound in NBA playoffs | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Florida basketball fans will have ample choices to watch their favorite former Gator players in the NBA playoffs.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun breaks down the eight fomer Florida Gator players who will be active in this year's NBA Playoffs.  The Miami Heat has two of the eight former Gators in Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.  The other six are David Lee, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Chandler Parsons, and Matt Bonner.

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Playoff predictions: Heat's march to another title a foregone conclusion

Playoff predictions: Heat's march to another title a foregone conclusion | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
There may be a first-round upset or two, Ken Berger says, but no team has the firepower to dethrone the NBA champion Heat.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com predicts a Thunder-Heat rematch in this year's NBA Finals: "Once again, it'll be Miamiand Oklahoma City vying for the NBA title, and once again, it says here, it'll be the Heat coming out on top for their second straight championship. A further coronation for LeBron James, who by then will have collected his fourth MVP trophy; a thorough validation of Pat Riley's master plan."

 

Berger goes on to pick Miami to win the championship: "The Heat? As predicted, they're better than they were a year ago. Better, as in 37-2 since Feb. 2, including 18-1 on the road. Their only flaw is rebounding, and you remember the old Riley saying: "No rebounds, no rings." Miami is 24th in the NBA in defensive-rebounding rate (72.8), ranking among the Clevelands and Detroits and Phoenixes of the world. But the Heat make up for it in so many ways -– forcing turnovers, getting to the foul line, keeping the opponent off the foul line, and posting the second-largest differential between offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency (second to Oklahoma City, by the way).   

 

It's Miami's tournament to lose, and losing is something the Heat haven't been inclined to do for months. Just two more months of dominance, and Miami's Big Three approach will be validated with another trophy."

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PBT NBA Playoff Preview: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

PBT NBA Playoff Preview: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
SEASON RECORDS Miami: 66-16, best record in the league and number one seed in the East Milwaukee: 38-44, eight seed in the East SEASON SERIES The Heat won three of the four matchups in the regular season, with one of the games in Miami going to overtime...
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

NBCSports Pro Basketball Talk's Brett Pollakoff previews the Bucks-Heat series and predicts the Heat to sweep the series: "While the Heat have peaked in the second half of the season by entering the playoffs on a ridiculous run of winning 37 of their last 39 games, it’s been the opposite for the Bucks, who have struggled as of late and closed the season by winning just four times in their last 16 games. This series will be a bloodbath pure and simple, unless the Heat take their foot off the gas and approach one of the games in the series as if it were a meaningless regular season game in November. Not likely."

 

He lists these three keys for Miami:

 

"Don’t overlook the opponent: The last time Miami faced Milwaukee, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh both sat out, yet the Heat cruised to a double-digit victory anyway. That was only a little more than a week ago, and with Miami at full strength to open the postseason, it might be tempting to view this series as already being won. As long as the Heat bring playoff energy to their performance, they should be more than fine in this series.

 

Contain either Ellis or Jennings: It doesn’t matter which of the Bucks’ guards the Heat decide to shut down; either is capable of going for 30 on any given night, Miami simply can’t have them both get going at the same time.

 

Do what you do best: The Heat play dominant, championship-level team defense when they want to, and when they do, it leads to fast break opportunities that are impossible for the defense to stop. Let the defense lead to offense as it has all season long, and Milwaukee, like most teams, will be in deep trouble for the majority of this series."

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East preview: Who can threaten Heat?

East preview: Who can threaten Heat? | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
Heat may get challenged in East playoffs, but not by Knicks.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Bill Reiter of FOXSports.com writes: "So can anyone beat Miami? The Chicago Bulls don’t have Derrick Rose. The Brooklyn Nets are very good but not in any way great. The Atlanta Hawks aren’t nearly capable of unseating LeBron Jamers and his teammates. Boston doesn’t have Rajon Rondoor the youth it once had, and Milwaukee stands absolutely no chance.

 

That leaves a Pacers team built on defense, rebounding and a young star willing to share the limelight, or a Knicks team that lives and dies on the three, plays middling defense and has as its key player a guy who hasn’t shared much of anything – especially the limelight – since he joined the league.

 

The answer, then, is this: Probably not, and if anyone can do it, it’s the Indiana Pacers."

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2013 NBA Eastern Conference first-round playoff preview

2013 NBA Eastern Conference first-round playoff preview | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
We preview the Eastern Conference first-round: Heat-Bucks, Knicks-Celtics, Pacers-Hawks, and Nets-Bulls.
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

Zach Harper of CBSSports.com previews the Heat-Bucks series and predicts the Heat to win in five games: "With how tough the Bucks have played the Heat over the last two seasons (3-4), it wouldn't shock me if they stole a game at the Bradley Center."

 

Harper call Larry Sanders the series' "X-Factor" and points out the following narratives: "How seriously will LeBron James and the Heat take the Bucks in the first round? We saw the proverbial killer instinct for most of the season as Miami won 66 games. But will the Heat allow themselves to let up and play to their competition again? Or will they want to run this team out of the gym for four games and get some rest before the competition starts getting harder? We know James and Dwyane Wadeare winners, but are they all-time winners? Can they march through the playoffs by starting off with the dismantling of a sub-.500 playoff team?

 

Also, don't forget that even though we've moved onto the postseason, Brandon Jennings is still looking for a max deal in his contract season. Is he going to play the measured, team ball it takes to bring down the Heat or is he going to try to shine bright in the playoff spotlight?"

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Ranking first-round playoff series by entertainment value | The Point Forward - SI.com

Ranking first-round playoff series by entertainment value | The Point Forward - SI.com | Miami sports media | Scoop.it
How does the first round look based purely on entertainment value? Here's our countdown from the least interesting series to the most fascinating:
8. Brooklyn Nets (4) vs. Chicago Bulls (5)
This …
Phil de Montmollin's insight:

SI's Rob Mahoney ranks the first-round series based on entertainment value/watchability.  Mahoney ranks the Heat-Bucks series at the 6th most entertaning, ahead of Nets-Bulls and Pacers-Hawks: "The run of Eastern Conference teams continues with the most likely blowout of the postseason field. The Bucks are a decent team with an engaging, firecracker center at their defensive core, but even Larry Sanders’ pogo-stick game won’t be enough to redeem the sight of the league’s most dominant team rolling over its first — and most unfortunate — playoff opponent. The gap between these teams will still make for some vaguely entertaining basketball at times, but those looking for competitive games should hunt elsewhere."

 

Not surprisingly, Mahoney picks Knicks-Celtics as his highest ranked Eastern Conference first-round series.  Nuggets-Warriors is his overall no. 1.    

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