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NBA

2013 NBA Finals: Top Five Candidates

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The Fight To Lift The Larry O'Brien Trophy

The Fight To Lift The Larry O'Brien Trophy
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA season is getting down to crunch time as teams are jockeying for playoff seeds. For some franchises, just getting into the playoffs means a successful season but for others, a spot in the NBA Finals is mandatory. Every season starts with every team's hope to make the finals, but only a select few actually have a legitimate shot.

The Eastern conference favorite is set, and it would be a huge shock if the Miami Heat didn’t punch their ticket in to the finals.

The Western conference is wide open as four teams each have a legitimate chance to make it into June. Pundits will say that home court advantage is the key to any one team making it deep into the playoffs, but these four teams have can beat any team anywhere any time. It will come down to simple issues like injuries, player suspensions and even down to how teams execute in crunch time. If one of these teams don’t fulfill their goals, coaches will be fired and players will be moved.

The following five teams are the only candidates to make the NBA Finals and have a shot at lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

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5. Los Angeles Lakers

5. Los Angeles Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, the Los Angeles Lakers aren't in the playoffs but if Kobe Bryant has his way, they will be very soon. Any team with Bryant on it can win any series at any time. A long playoff run could be the last shot this group as a unit have at getting to the NBA Finals.

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4. Los Angeles Clippers

4. Los Angeles Clippers
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Vinny Del Negro is on the hot seat and if his Los Angeles Clippers don't make the NBA Finals, he won't be around to try again next season. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have to say healthy for team to reach their full potential.

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3. San Antonio Spurs

3. San Antonio Spurs
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs are always in the thick of things every single NBA season. Gregg Popovich has the team running on all cylinders, even with Tony Parker out with an injury. They will be hard to beat if they get home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

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2. Oklahoma City Thunder

2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a stronger team this season and are favorites to come out of the Western conference again. If they don't make the NBA Finals, Scott Brooks might be looking for a new job.

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1. Miami Heat

1. Miami Heat
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

As long as Lebron James stays healthy, the Miami Heat are the only candidates to make the NBA Finals from the Eastern conference.

Shahab Khan is a Basketball and NBA Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors

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