Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Miami Heat is wearing the crown for this lockout-shortened NBA season but did you know that 10 of its 16 post-season wins occurred by double-digit margins or that the Heat finished the post-season with the best pointspread mark among all 16 playoff teams?
Miami's 14-8-1 ATS (against the spread) log was good - not great - as many champs do better than a .636 winning rate versus the vig come their playoff runs but just to soak it all in we've compiled all the games from all four playoff rounds in an extensive chart below just so you can see how the Heat did in game-by-game fashion and numbers-wise too.
Maybe the neatest thing is to note Miami finished the post-season an electric 9-3-1 against the odds at home (a commanding .750 winning rate) and lost only two playoff home games SU (straight-up) in all - a 78-75 loss in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers and a shocking (at the time) 94-90 loss to 8-point pup Boston in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Interestingly enough, the Heat was an underdog side just three times in its 23 post-season games and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and mates actually failed to cover two of those three dog outings. Hmmm.
Okay, so before we get to the round-by-round look back of the Heat's championship playoff run, here's how we would set the odds on winning it all in the NBA in the 2012-13 season (listing just the big-time teams):
OUR JIM SEZ NBA ODDS TO WIN IT ALL FOR THE 2012-13 SEASON
|Miami||2-1||Are Wade's balky knees gonna hold up for a full season ... or not?|
|Oklahoma City||5-2||Tell us if the Thunder's gonna "get tough" in the off-season and we'll tell you if OKC's back in the NBA Finals|
|Chicago||5-1||Assuming PG Derrick Rose is okay by January, this defense-first Bulls bunch will be real tough again|
|San Antonio||6-1||The "window" isn't officially shut yet but Spurs need to keep Tim Duncan's minutes trimmed, for sure|
|Indiana||9-1||It's time for Danny Granger to step up and officially become team leader if the Pacers want to go further in the playoffs|
|LA Lakers||10-1||If GM Mitch Kupchak can keep Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol together and than add a key third scorer, the Hollywood gang could rise|
|LA Clippers||12-1||Only reason we're slotting the Clips behind the Lakers is 'cause NBA folks have discovered how to defend Blake Griffin in the half-court|
|Memphis||14-1||Gut feeling is the Grizzlies need a more fiery head coach and so an in-season change could catapult far come springtime|
|Denver||18-1||Nuggets have a "whole-is-better-than-sum-of-its-parts" type team but plucking a defensive stopper type would be a nice off-season move|
MIAMI HEAT - THE PLAYOFF ROUND-BY-ROUND RE-CAP
Here's how the Heat-Knicks first-round Eastern Conference series went in five games (note home teams are in CAPS):
|4-28||MIAMI||- 8.5||New York||MIAMI 100-67|
|4-30||MIAMI||- 9.5||New York||MIAMI 104-94|
|5-3||Miami||- 5||NEW YORK||Miami 87-70|
|5-6||Miami||- 7.5||NEW YORK||NEW YORK 89-87|
|5-9||MIAMI||- 12||New York||MIAMI 106-94|
Here's how the Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Semifinal Series went down in six games (note all home teams are in CAPS):
|5-13||MIAMI||- 8.5||Indiana||MIAMI 95-86|
|5-15||MIAMI||- 6.5||Indiana||Indiana 78-75|
|5-17||Miami||- 2.5||INDIANA||INDIANA 94-75|
|5-20||Miami||- 1.5||INDIANA||Miami 101-93|
|5-22||MIAMI||- 7||Indiana||MIAMI 115-83|
|5-24||Miami||- 2.5||INDIANA||Miami 105-93|
Here's how the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat-Celtics went in seven games (note that all home teams below are in CAPS):
|5-28||MIAMI||- 8||Boston||MIAMI 93-79|
|5-30||MIAMI||- 8||Boston||MIAMI 115-111(ot)|
|6-1||BOSTON||- 2.5||MIAMI||BOSTON 101-91|
|6-3||Miami||- 2||BOSTON||BOSTON 93-91|
|6-5||MIAMI||- 8||Boston||Boston 94-90|
|6-7||Miami||- 2||BOSTON||Miami 98-79|
|6-9||MIAMI||- 7.5||Boston||MIAMI 101-88|
And here's how the Heat-Thunder NBA Finals Series went down in just five games (note all home teams are in CAPS):
|6-12||OKLAHOMA CITY||- 5||Miami||OKLAHOMA CITY 105-94|
|6-14||OKLAHOMA CITY||- 5.5||Miami||Miami 100-96|
|6-17||MIAMI||- 4||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 91-85|
|6-19||MIAMI||- 3||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 104-98|
|6-21||MIAMI||- 3.5||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 121-106|
BASEBALL'S UNDER-THE-RADAR STARS
Let's go 'round the bigs and examine some of the best players this year that you have not been hearing about:
ALEJANDO DE AZA, CF, Chicago White Sox - One of the best things rookie Pale Hose manager Robin Ventura has done is keep this energetic guy at or near the top of his batting order and play 'em most every day. De Aza entered the weekend's interleague series against Milwaukee leading the Chisox in runs scored (47) and while he has 60 singles among his 78 hits this year, the fact is he seems to score all the time with run-producers Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn hitting in the meat of the order. De Aza has missed only two games so far and his base-stealing skills give the Sox something they have not had in a while. An All-Star? Maybe not but you could say he's the biggest catalyst in the Windy City. Note the White Sox rank fourth in the American League in runs scored.
SEAN MARSHALL, LHP, Cincinnati - No doubt you've heard plenty about flame-throwing lefty closer/reliever Aroldis Chapman (1.57 ERA with 59 Ks in 34.1 innings) this year but did you realize that Reds manager Dusty Baker has turned to the veteran Marshall to notch nine saves in 10 save opportunities? Now, Baker normally uses Chapman these days as his closer but Marshall's a keen set-up man and watch for him in the weeks head when facing off with NL Central lefty bats in the seventh and eighth innings of games. P.S., Marshall has fanned 35 batters in 27.2 innings this season.
ANGEL PAGAN, OF, San Francisco Giants - The Jints are hardly an offensive juggernaut this season but the switch-hitting Pagan (acquired last off-season from the New York Mets) has been a true godsend with his .300 batting average, 80 hits and 25 runs batted in. Bruce Bochy's crew has top-of-the-order speed these days with Pagan usually slotted in the #2 hole and note his 115 total bases ranks second on the club behind NL batting leader OF Melky Cabrera who has a whopping 101 hits and a sizzling .363 batting average. If Pagan (12 stolen bases in 14 attempts) can keep doing the little things for this San Fran squad, than the Giants might have enough oomph to win the NL West.
NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft on Wednesday, June 27th!