Miami Heat Roundtable: Preferred Round 1 NBA Playoff Opponent

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Miami Heat
Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat Roundtable: Preferred Round 1 NBA Playoff Opponent – Noah’s Take

The Miami Heat should have a very good chance to defeat all three teams they could possibly face in the first round. I would prefer that the Heat face the Charlotte Hornets in the first round though, for a number of reasons.

Noah’s Take (@ndeckerbuckets) – Charlotte Hornets

Let’s begin with why I would rather not face the other two teams. Beginning with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they have been one of the surprises this year.

For most of the season, they have looked very strong, but they have collapsed recently. The Cavs have been plagued with injuries all year, but the one that has negatively affected them the most is the loss of breakout star, Jarrett Allen.

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Allen’s rim protection made a big impact on the defensive end for Cleveland. It also allowed them to play multiple bigs at the same time, having a size advantage on teams.

There is a chance that Jarrett Allen could be returning to Cleveland’s lineup soon. If he does, they will be a better team than we have seen recently.

This could be problematic for Miami. While they have the roster flexibility to play big, their main rotation relies on playing on the smaller side.

If Cleveland plays bigger than Miami, they will have a chance to get more rebounds. If they get more rebounds, they get more possessions.

If they get more possessions, they make more shots. The Heat have a better overall team than the Cavs, but with key defensive players and fearless young stars like Darius Garland, Cleveland becomes a more difficult matchup than anticipated.

Next up, we have the Atlanta Hawks. This would probably be the most entertaining matchup that could happen, but the Heat winning the series is my biggest concern.

Last postseason, Trae Young showed us that he is a performer and he lives for the big moments. He stepped up his game in the postseason and led the Hawks to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

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My preference to not play the Hawks comes from the unpredictability of the series created by Trae Young. He can get in your head and take you out of the game.

While the Heat are a well-coached team that seems too smart to fall for Trae’s antics, the Hawks took out the number one seed last year. It would be a shame to see that happen again.

The Hornets are the best possible team for Miami to face. First, they are a very young team and lack experience.

Their best player is an NBA sophomore who has never been to the playoffs before. Even for a player as skilled as LaMelo Ball, playing in the playoffs will be an adjustment.

The playoffs are a different environment. Second, they are not a very good defensive team.

The Heat dominate them in this category. Third, it will still be an entertaining series on both ends.

The Hornets are highflyers who fill up the highlight reel. When there is a chance to beat the team owned by Michael Jordan, there is always an incentive to play hard.

If the Hornets, somehow, find a way to get themselves into the playoffs, this will be a good series and one that the Heat would win.