The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 19, 2013

Is there a challenge for Heat in NBA playoffs?

(Continued)

New York, which won three out of four from Miami, hosts Boston on Saturday in the playoff opener. The Nets welcome Chicago for the first postseason game in Brooklyn, while the Western Conference has Golden State visiting Denver, and the Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies squaring off in a first-round rematch.

On Sunday, the Lakers go to San Antonio without Kobe Bryant, and defending West champ Oklahoma City faces former Thunder star James Harden and Houston. Indiana and Atlanta meet in the other East game.

Miami went 66-16 and has been so dominant since Super Bowl Sunday that the betting site Bovada gave the Heat opening odds to win the championship that it said were "unheard of in recent years" — and then already had to lower them when most of the action was coming in on the Heat, anyway.

That dropped Miami to a 2-to-3 favorite, meaning a $3 bet only won $2 more. The Heat were 2-to-9 favorites to win the East, where Indiana and Chicago also beat them multiple times during the regular season.

Knicks center Tyson Chandler said the other contenders shouldn't feel slighted by all the experts that are picking the Heat.

"No, not at all. They should pick the Heat," he said. "They're the defending champions and they should get that respect. But that's not what we believe. We haven't believed in that throughout the year. But they should get that respect because they've earned it."

Miami faced plenty of adversity during last season's championship run. They were down 2-1 to Indiana in the second round, with Wade struggling and Chris Bosh injured. The Celtics took a 3-2 lead in the conference finals back to Boston before James fought off elimination with a 45-point performance in Game 6, and the Thunder took the opener of the NBA Finals and nearly rallied two nights later to put the Heat in a 2-0 hole.

Text Only
Sports
Photos


Poll

Do you agree with the U.S. House’s decision to sue President Obama?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee