Before entering 2014, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers would be meeting in the Eastern Conference finals, and the only interesting competition left was for home-court advantage. While these two teams may still remain the favorites, things have certainly become much more interesting.
Looking back now, it seems ridiculous that there was a time when people were questioning Jason Kidd‘s job security. 2014 has been a completely different story for the Brooklyn Nets. The most obvious change is in the win-loss column. The Nets have managed to win four more games than both the Pacers and the Heat since January 1.
Just because the Nets are able to win more games than the Heat does not necessarily mean that they are capable of beating the Heat in a seven-game series. This is only a problem until you realize that the Nets are undefeated against the Heat this year, winning all four meetings, including one in double overtime.
The Nets’ ability to beat he Heat goes even deeper than this season. The most significant factor is Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Both Pierce and Garnett have plenty of experience playing LeBron James in the postseason.
One of the biggest reasons why James was able to get past Pierce and Garnett while with the Heat was Dwyane Wade. Unfortunately for the Heat, Wade is on his last legs and even if he’s capable of lasting a full seven-game series, there’s no guarantee that he will be a difference-maker.
Pierce has always been one of the toughest matchups for James, and he has proven that he will not let James walk all over him. Throw in that the Pacers are in the midst of an inexplicable collapse, and the Nets are a legitimate threat to win the East.
Even though the Pacers have won all four meeting against the Nets this year, they have become one of the most unreliable and unpredictable teams in the NBA, leaving the door wide open for the Nets to swoop in a steal a spot in the NBA finals.