2013 NBA Playoffs: Biggest Strength For Each Team Headed Into Postseason
2013 NBA Playoffs: Biggest Strength For Each Postseason Team
The NBA regular season is winding down and the time for another run at a championship ring is on.
Of the 16 teams that qualify for the NBA Playoffs each year, 15 of them have already locked up spots here in 2013. The only remaining spot that is up for grabs is the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference.
At this point in the season however, the biggest thing for some teams is getting to full strength, grinding out the remaining games of the regular season and gearing up for a possible run within the playoffs. Well here in 2013, some of the biggest weaknesses and question marks can pose issues, but these NBA squads are veterans and professionals and the focus upon their strengths should be what is coming to the forefront.
With the regular season nearing its completion, let's dive into some of the more glaring strengths that each of the expected playoff teams feature. From rebounding to offensive edges to defensive pressure and super stardom, the list of strengths can be extensive -- but necessary.
A season ago, we saw LeBron James and the Miami Heat flex their muscles and overpower their competition and as the start of another playoff stand nears, the South Beach trio once again has their sights set on glory. However, other teams are waiting in the background ready to make their move and cause an upset, but they better take advantage of their overall strengths if they hope to do so.
Let's take a look at some of these strengths for each NBA team headed to the NBA postseason:
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Miami Heat- Confidence
The Miami Heat are fresh off an NBA championship in 2012, so you know their confidence was sky-high heading into this season. Following a 27-game winning streak during the NBA regular season, that confidence continues to be on the rise. Miami has won over 60 games this season and the Heat are clearly the team to beat this postseason.
New York Knicks- Carmelo Anythony
The New York Knicks are having one of their best seasons in recent memory. The catalyst behind that is none other than Carmelo Anthony Here in the tail end of the regular season, Anthony has had five consecutive games of 35+ points and has taken the overall scoring lead away from Kevin Durant. Anthony is the best thing New York has going their way and a 13-game winning streak is added proof to that.
Indiana Pacers- Defense
The Indiana Pacers are the best defense team in the Eastern Conference and it's like they say, "defense wins championships." The Pacers are allowing only 90.2 points per game -- a mark that ranks second in the NBA to only the Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets- Balance
The Brooklyn Nets have made considerable strides this season and their seeding heading into this year's playoff is an indication of that. Reggie Evans has been a monster on the boards, but it's the overall balance of this lineup that makes them dangerous. The Nets features 11 players who have appeared in over 50 games this season.
Chicago Bulls- Coaching
The Chicago Bulls have had to deal with multiple injuries this season and of course you can throw in the fact that Derrick Rose has yet to return from the torn ACL he suffered a year ago. However, through it all, the Bulls have remained a viable threat in the Eastern Conference and that's thank in large part to head coach Tom Thibodeau. At full strength, the Bulls can be one of the better defensive teams in the NBA.
Atlanta Hawks- Passing
The Atlanta Hawks are not going to jump out at a lot of teams and despite the lack of a true superstar, the wins have stacked up. The Hawks have managed to win 42 games this season and a lot of that success can be attributed to their selflessness. Five players average at least three assists per game for Atlanta, as the Hawks collectively average 24.5 per game -- a mark that ranks second in the NBA.
Boston Celtics- Experience
Would the Boston Celtics like to be younger? Oh of course, but let's be serious -- this team still runs through both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and age aside, that's a good thing. The loss of Rajon Rondo is irreplaceable, but the Celtics are undoubtedly a team that nobody wants to face in a seven game series. Keep in mind, this old, Celtics team had the Miami Heat facing elimination after five games a year ago.
Milwaukee Bucks- Nothing to Lose
The Milwaukee Bucks are looking like the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, which means they're looking at a date with the Miami Heat. The Bucks biggest strength is the fact that the have nothing to lose at this point. Nobody expects them to beat the Heat, so Milwaukee should enter the playoffs carrying this exact mindset.
San Antonio Spurs- Experience
Once again, the San Antonio Spurs are a top dog out west. All they do is win and there's no doubt that their biggest advantage is experience. From Tim Duncan to Tony Parker to Manu Ginobili, the Spurs have their veteran-feel taking care of business yet again. San Antonio knows how to win, but can they outlast the rest of the NBA and win the championship here in 2013? That is what remains to be seen.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Two-Headed Attack
The Oklahoma City Thunder are once again a championship contender here in 2013 and who else is driving the ship, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant and Westbrook are the highest scoring duo in the entire NBA and that's enough to make them more than dangerous this postseason.
Denver Nuggets- Home Advantage
The Denver Nuggets have had a terrific season here in 2012-13. Yet what's most impressive is their home court record. At 35-3 on the season, the Nuggets are simply dominating at home this year and that's a big advantage heading into the playoffs. At the same time however, the Nuggets have mustered only an 18-21 mark on the road, so this will certainly be an interesting trend to follow once the playoffs kick off.
Los Angeles Clippers- Athleticism
They call in Lob City. Yes, we know. From DeAndre Jordan to Blake Griffin, there's a highlight reel play coming out of L.A. almost every game. Chris Paul is having another incredible season and why wouldn't he be as the point guard on a squad that features this much athleticism.
Memphis Grizzlies- Defense
The Memphis Grizzlies are another team that has been great at home this season, totaling 31 wins at the FedEx Forum. However, their biggest strength is certainly their defense. The Grizzlies ranks first in the NBA in points allowed, giving up only 89.5 per game.
Golden State Warriors- Rebounding
The Golden State Warriors are ranked within the top ten in the NBA in points per game and Stephen Curry is having the best year of his career. However, the biggest strength that the Warriors have to offer is their work on the glass. Golden State is averaging 44.8 rebounds per game, a mark that ranks second in the NBA.
Houston Rockets- New Acquisitions
The Houston Rockets added both James Harden and Jeremy Lin before the start of the 2012-13 season. Fast forward to now and the tandem are gearing up for their first playoff appearance together. Their biggest strength however, is the unknowing expectations of the two. We know what they are capable of, but this is the playoffs and anything can really happen.
Los Angeles Lakers- Roster
***This is a predicted projection: the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to qualify for the NBA Playoffs, but currently lead the Utah Jazz by a 1/2 game (as of Wed. Apr. 10).
The biggest stretch that the Lakers have this season is their overall roster. Los Angeles was supposed to feature the next "Big Three" with their off-season acquisitions of both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash but that hasn't exactly panned out. If the Lakers do get in the playoffs, there's no denying that they will still have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA.