BOSTON (CBS) — The experts agree: It’s going to be difficult to knock off the champs this season.
The champs, of course, are the Miami Heat, who put it together last May and June for an impressive title run that went through the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder. With LeBron James looking to finally have realized his mammoth potential as the best player in the game, many are expecting a repeat run for the Heat to get back to the Finals.
This feeling is no better illustrated than on ESPN.com, which asked 35 experts for their predictions regarding the Eastern Conference this season. All but one of them said it would be the Heat going to the Finals.
Because ESPN.com used a logo to display each expert’s pick, the result was an almost comical image (which you can see here) on the website showing 34 Heat logos with one lone Celtics logo at the bottom.
The only person to predict the Celtics winning the East was ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg.
Favoring the Heat is not just a national phenomenon, though, as The Boston Globe posted its own NBA predictions on Tuesday. Gary Washburn predicted the Celtics would beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, but Dan Shaughnessy, Frank Dell’Apa and Chris Gasper all predicted the Heat to beat the Celtics in the conference finals.
In the West, 25 of ESPN’s experts predicted the Los Angeles Lakers to make it to the Finals, nine chose the Oklahoma City Thunder and one picked the San Antonio Spurs.
Zero experts picked the Celtics to win the Finals, with 26 picking the Heat, eight picking the Lakers and one picking the Thunder.
For what it’s worth, last season, 25 of 30 correctly predicted at the start of the season that the Heat would win the championship.