Friday April 19th, 2013

The reigning champion Heat are colossal favorites to retain their NBA crown. So favored, in fact, that we're left looking around the league for anyone who holds the slimmest chance of impeding their repeat run.

New York went 3-1 against the Heat during the regular season and Indiana gave them a scare in the second round of the playoffs last season. Neither team would face the Heat until the conference finals. Brooklyn presents arguably the toughest matchup with its star point guard and center, while Chicago and its unforgiving defense beat Miami twice this year and ended its 27-game winning streak in late March.

Series previews: East: Heat-Bucks | Knicks-Celtics | Nets-Bulls | Pacers-Hawks

But do any of those teams actually stand a chance against a motivated LeBron James and the Heat in a seven-game series? After winning the title last year and going undefeated for nearly two months this year, it's tough to pick against Miami and its embarrassment of advantages.

Series previews: West: Thunder-Rockets | Spurs-Lakers | Clippers-Grizzlies | Nuggets-Warriors

In the West, the Thunder, who lost to the Heat in the Finals in five games last season, once again represent the best hope, followed by the banged-up Spurs, youthful Nuggets and chippy Clippers. The Western Conference playoffs will ultimately decide which one earns a shot at the Heat.

With the postseason finally here, let's reshuffle the Power Rankings and rank the playoff teams 1 to 16.

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