The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 19, 2013

Who can take the Heat?

NORMAN — Looking for a reason not to pick the Miami Heat to win another NBA title?

Don’t check the odds, where the Heat are such an overwhelming favorite that it might as well be Tiger Woods against a weekend hacker.

Definitely don’t bother with the Heat’s results, which show exactly three losses since the start of February.

And certainly don’t look on the court, where LeBron James sent season-long reminders that he’s better than ever and already the best in the world.

The only people who might really believe in caution are the Heat themselves.

“There’s going to be trials and tribulations no matter what, no matter how good of a team you are,” Dwyane Wade said. “There’s going to be a moment in the playoffs where our back is going to be against the wall. And I think everything we’ve done this season will prepare us for that moment. We have a goal, just like every other team that gets into the playoffs, to win a championship. But we understand the process that it takes.”

It starts Saturday, when the playoffs start with four first-round games. The Heat will open Sunday against Milwaukee in what’s expected to be a quick series.

Then it will be up to someone like the Knicks, Thunder, Spurs, or some other contender, to prove that the next two months aren’t just a formality.

“They’ve had the best record and they’re the defending champs so they’re the team to beat, but I don’t think it’s much beyond that,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “I mean, give them their due. They have the best record and they’re the defending champs, so they’re the team that you need to beat, but no, I don’t think anybody is head and shoulders over any. There’s too many good teams.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • NCAA board endorses more autonomy for big schools

    INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA’s board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences on Thursday, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation’s biggest schools more autonomy in ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Dice-K 1st save since 2000 as Mets hold down Cards

    NEW YORK — Daisuke Matsuzaka pinched his eyelids, clenched his teeth and thought back. He couldn’t remember all the details of the first save of his professional career....

    April 25, 2014

  • Pineda banned 10 games

    BOSTON — Michael Pineda says he was just trying to get a better grip on the ball. Now, he won’t need one for a while....

    April 25, 2014

  • Teague, Korver lead Hawks in win vs. Pacers

    ATLANTA — As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Atlanta Hawks celebrated and their fans serenaded the Indiana Pacers with chants of “Overrated!” Game 3 did nothing to change that perception....

    April 25, 2014

  • Blazers return home in control

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Houston has a LaMarcus Aldridge problem. The Trail Blazers’ All-Star forward has been dominating with more than 40 points in each of the opening two playoff games with the Rockets in Houston. Portland is up 2-0 as the ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Ben Martin surges to Zurich Classic lead

    AVONDALE, La. — Ben Martin treated a tiny gallery to a course-record round, shooting a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the first round of the Zurich Classic....

    April 25, 2014

  • Record number sign up for U.S. Open

    FAR HILLS, N.J. — More people than ever have signed up for a chance to play in the U.S. Open. The USGA said Thursday it received a record 10,127 entrants for the U.S. Open, which will be played June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2....

    April 25, 2014

  • Nadal cruises into Barcelona quarterfinals

    BARCELONA, Spain — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Thursday....

    April 25, 2014

  • Sharapova advances in Porsche Grand Prix

    STUTTGART, Germany — Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to set up a Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinal with top seed Agnieszka Radwanska....

    April 25, 2014

  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014