The Miami Heat (48-34) through a tiebreaker are the Southeast Division champs earning them the #3 seed in the East. Their opponent, the Charlotte Hornets (48-34), finished with an identical record but were relegated to third place in the division making for one of the most highly contested 3 vs. 6 matchups ever.
The Heat are back in the playoffs, largely due to the emergence of center Hassan Whiteside, who led the league in blocks by a large margin. Dwyane Wade also had his healthiest season in a long time, playing in 74 games. Miami is a deep team that plays well on both sides of the floor but isn’t really known for one particular strength.
Kemba Walker was not able to improve upon his second year in the league, until this season. In fact, in his third and fourth seasons he got worse, finishing with shooting percentages below 40%. But he turned it around this year finding a three point shot establishing himself as a top scorer in the league. Like Miami, Charlotte is solid on both ends but not spectacular in any one area.
Like the Hawks-Celtics series, this should be a very competitive series. But remember, Chris Bosh will not play this postseason. That has to be taken into consideration. Yes, Miami still has Whiteside but if he gets into foul trouble the Heat will have a hard time stopping big Al Jefferson in the post. With Jefferson and Walker I see the Hornets getting better scoring opportunities and ultimately winning the series.