The Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Miami Heat in the playoffs would be a dream scenario for the NBA.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index Playoff Odds, which updates daily and grades teams based on factors like game-by-game efficiency, strength of schedule, pace, days of rest, game location and preseason expectations, this glorious matchup is expected to occur in the opening round, with the top-seeded Cavs taking on the eighth-seeded Heat, with the latter finishing 44-38.
Their formula simulates the season 10,000 times each day in accordance to each team’s BPI and remaining schedule. In 81.5 percent of those scenarios, the Heat makes the playoffs — this ranks eighth in the conference.
Obviously this is a mere projection and the team has 32 games remaining. The East is also impossible to get a solid grasp on considering the distance between the third-place Hawks (29-22) and eighth-place Pistons (26-24) is just two games in the loss column.
While the Heat has been a dynamic team on the defensive end, currently ranked sixth in defensive efficiency, they’ll need to discover some semblance of an effective offense (24th in offensive efficiency) if they hope to make any noise come playoff time. Securing the No. 3 seed has to be the goal, avoiding LeBron and the Cavs until the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat and Cavs split their two-game matchup so far this season, with LeBron being absent during the Heat’s win. They next square off on March 19 in Miami.