The Pacers can't beat Miami. They just have no chance in hell. Roy Hibbert is simply too slow and limited defensively to make a competent team defense against Miami's skilled speed and size.
The Knicks might be able to but that depends a lot on Raymond Felton showing up for the playoffs. Last two go-arounds he was a no-show. Can't beat Miami being this dependent on Carmelo. They need other guys to step up and provide some more balanced scoring. Felton's dribble penetration is key to that.
Chicago has a chance too. Their rebounding, defense and size cause Miami issues. I don't have much trust in their offense with Derrick Rose leading the charge. I think Rose is too easy for LeBron to contain. But guys like Joakim Noah can do a lot of damage.
I still think Boston has the best chance in the East of knocking the Heat off. Their inability to contain Rondo. Garnett's defensive quality and mobility. Encouraging signs of Bradley being able to slow down Wade. LeBron will go off in a ridiculous way but they might be able to slow down the rest of them enough to take them out.
Agreed. They couldn't do it last year with Bosh out. They aren't really much (if any) better this year than last and Heat have made roster improvements since last year. If Miami is healthy, Indy has NO chance. I apologize for writing this without even reading the author's reasoning, but there's just no chance.
I think Indiana is in fact a lot better than last year. George has taken another step upward as have Hill and Stephenson (who took a major leap). Indiana is about where they were at this point last year, except this year they haven't even gotten anything from Granger. When Granger comes back, I expect them to be that much better as it will put Stephenson back on the bench (a weak point for them) and shift everyone else on the bench down a rung. Granger being out allowed the young guys to take major steps upward and for Indy to get a lot better.
Also, when Miami plays small I don't foresee Hibbert being on the floor with Indy countering with West, George, Granger, Stephenson, and Hill.
And let me be clear, I would be totally surprised if any Eastern team beat the Heat, but I'd put the Pacers with as good a chance as any team to do it (except maybe a Rose led Bulls).