OK, I claim no love for the Miami Heat and that has been readily evident for any who has read my comments on them previously, so my wish for them to make a hasty exit from the playoffs should come as no shock. Unfortunately, with the Lakers gone and the Celtics on the verge of elimination, the remaining field isn't inspiring confidence that this will happen. Keeping this reality within conscious reach, I have taken the remaining teams and rated their chances of besting Miami.
The Hawks have the worse chance to upend the Heat mainly because they don't play great defense and their effort is spotty game to game. They have plenty of talent with Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Al Hortford and the emergence of Jeff Teague but they seem to be missing that one player who will make this team give their best effort night after night.
Probability of beating Heat: 20%
The Grizzlies are the surprise team in this years playoffs. Nobody gave them much of a shot against the Spurs, who they handled readily, and the Thunder, who they are tied at 2 apiece with, but here they are in the second round with a shot at advancing even farther. Zach Randolph has emerged as a leader and a focal point for the emergence of this team and they will go as far as he can take them.
Probability of beating Heat: 25%
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have 2 of the best players remaining in the playoffs in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. These two stars are equal in talent to LeBron and Wade. The major issue, however comes down to Westbrook making poor decisions and Durant not being assertive enough to demand the ball more. Without these two in harmony, the Heat would crush them, plain and simple.
Probability of beating Heat: 35%
The Bulls are the Eastern Conference's best chance to best the Heat. They have all the tools that have given Miami problems in the past, mainly an all-star point guard and a dominant inside presence. One other advantage the Bulls have going for them is home court, which could prove vital in this potential matchup. Their defense is suspect at times but then again, who's isn't?
Probability of beating Heat: 50%
The Mavericks have the best shot of the remaining teams to beat the Heat. They are an experienced squad filled with talented players who are riding high after taking out the Champs, the Lakers, in four straight. With a rejuvenated Dirk Nowitzki looking younger than ever and plenty of rest this postseason, the Mavericks are on a course to avenge their 2006 Finals loss to Miami.
Probability of beating Heat:60%
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS