The NBA season is upon us and weíve already seen Russell Westbrook and Nene get into a pushing match and James Harden fined for flopping.
Oh yeah, and my Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-1 at home, but a pathetic 1-6 on the road. Itís a good thing there are still 60-plus games to go.
So, who are the teams to beat? Well, thatís the million-dollar question, so letís peer into the Double Take crystal ball at how the season will play out.
There are so many ways this can pan out, but as we look to the end of the season, itís obvious there are going to be a handful of teams that we can already pencil into the playoffs ó the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Coming off of back-to-back championships, itís hard to imagine the Heat not making it to the NBA Finals. But how do they get there?
The Heat will fend off the Pacers in a hard-fought Eastern Conference final, but it wonít be easy. It wouldnít surprise me if the Pacers shocked the world, but itís not likely.
In the Western Conference, look for the final pairing to come down to the Thunder and the Spurs. Itís Kevin Durantís year to carry his team to a championship, and the Spurs are just too old.
Sure, the Heat got the best of the Thunder in the finals two years ago, but I donít expect the same result. Itís going to be Durant versus James in a one-on-one, mano-a-mano matchup.
Iím drooling right now thinking about it.
In a seven-game series, the Thunder is going to prove that the mighty Heat is not invincible.
Itís that time. That special moment that comes rarely in the life of a basketball fan, the verge of a dynasty.
In basketball, it takes three-in-a-row. If you want to be historic, you canít take three-out-of-four, like football. It has to be back-to-back.
And, why not put your money on the Miami Heat? I mean, itís perfectly reasonable to cheer against them. But what possible reason could you create to remove the two-time-defending champions from favor?
Itís happened five times in the history of the Association: The Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002), the Chicago Bulls (1991-1993, 1996-1998), the Boston Celtics (1959-1966) and the Minneapolis Lakers (1952-1954).
Obviously, the eight-peat by the Celtics is on a different level, and it WILL NEVER happen again.
First, letís take a look at the Eastern Conference. Iím only going to give three other teams a chance: The Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers.
First, Iím going to rule out the Nets, the most prominent all-star line-up in the game. But theyíre old, and the playoffs are a grind. I just donít think that a team lead in scoring by the 2014 version of Paul Piece can win it all.
Next out, are the Bulls. They put up a fight in last yearís playoffs, without their super star, Derrick Rose. But thatís the problem; this team knows how to grind without him. Maybe next year.
And last out, will be the Pacers. Everyone knows that Indiana is the most dangerous Eastern threat to the crown. I believe that Miami is already preparing for the Eastern Conference Championship, against the Pacers. Theyíll be ready.
In the Western Conference, age will stop the San Antonio Spurs, lack-of-depth will halt the Oklahoma City Thunder, LA-style apathy will check the Los Angeles Clippers, ďleadershipĒ will be THE major issue for the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors are still missing a piece.
Sorry, Heat haters; prepare yourself for the sixth dynasty.