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bus 1-1 on Saturday. He followed a three-

    • 435 posts
    January 17, 2017 4:37 PM AEDT

    MIAMI -- Before the season started, a poll suggested that the Miami Heat were the overwhelming favourite to win the NBA title, collecting a whopping 76 per cent of ballots cast. Nike Air Max Thea Dame . The voters werent some know-nothings, either. No, this was a polling of NBA general managers. Things seem quite a bit different now. The Heat dont seem like locks for a third straight title anymore. San Antonio and Indiana are top seeds. Brooklyn, Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Houston, Portland and the Heat all figure to have a legitimate chance at being the club to hoist the Larry OBrien Trophy in a couple of months. Usually, the NBA playoffs arent so wide open. Things might change over the next couple of months. "There are 16 teams that have a chance to win it," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, whose team is seeded No. 2 in the West. "If youre in the playoffs, you have a chance. There are some good teams. Any team can beat each other. The West is deep. There are two teams that are really good that didnt make it and had great years. Its definitely open. Theres a lot of good basketball teams that are fighting for the championship." For as good as San Antonio and Indiana were all year -- well, for most of the year in Indianas case, before the Pacers faltered down the stretch -- its never a certainty that the No. 1 seeds reach the NBA Finals. Its happened that way only 11 times in the last 35 years. Then again, the last time that there wasnt either a No. 1 or a No. 2 in the title series was 1978. So while upsets can happen, its not all that common to see bracket craziness -- akin to a No. 7 and No. 8 seeds Connecticut and Kentucky playing for the NCAA title earlier this month -- happening in the same NBA playoff season. "It is going to be tremendous from a fans standpoint, watching," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "It going to be a lot of fun." Brooklyns Jason Kidd has plenty of post-season experience as a player. He believes the NBA championship is up for grabs, but also probably knows history doesnt favour his sixth-seeded club. Since 1979, only five teams seeded No. 4 or lower in their conference have reached the finals. But Kidd sees reason for hope. "Its always wide open," said Kidd, the first-year coach of the Nets -- a veteran-laden team put together to win a title this season. "You guys sometimes limit it to just two teams but guys that are playing on a daily basis in the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference feel like theyve got a chance." This year, that doesnt just seem like coach speak. Take the East. On paper, the biggest mismatch is No. 1 Indiana against No. 8 Atlanta, especially because the Hawks are the only sub-.500 team in the playoffs. And just a couple weeks ago, the Hawks went to Indianapolis and absolutely embarrassed the Pacers, running out to a 32-point halftime lead in one of the more stunning games of the entire NBA season. "Theres some good teams out there," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Every team in the playoffs have given us some problems. Weve been able to win against them as well. But its certainly shaped out to be a good conference." No. 5 Washington won the season series over No. 4 Chicago. Out West, the third-seeded Clippers and sixth-seeded Golden State split four meetings. Memphis ousted Oklahoma City a year ago and those clubs meet in the first round. And San Antonios quest to avenge last years loss in the NBA Finals starts against Dallas -- the last team to beat Miami in a seven-game series, winning the title in 2011. So there are some good stories, and theres intrigue with every first-round series. That doesnt mean everyone in the league thinks itll be a year laden with surprises. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown put it simply -- to him, the game changes in the playoffs, period. "The regular season and the playoffs are like two different sports," Brown said. "If you put me in a bubble and you drag me out in May, I can say this is different than the game Im seeing in November. Its just entirely different." Thats why Brown, a former Spurs assistant, thinks theres a very small number of teams capable of winning it all. "To be the last man standing is so ridiculously hard," Brown said. "People have no idea what its like to play in June." Nike Free Run Tilbud . The light-heavyweight champion and number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world is on an 11-fight UFC winning streak, the longest in the history of the weight class. Nike Air Max Tilbud . Redden played a total of 1,023 regular-season games with Ottawa, the New York Rangers, St. Louis and Boston. He finished with 457 points (109 goals, 348 assists) and a plus-160 rating over his career.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his hot scoring with the second-half equalizer and the New York Red Bulls rallied to tie Columbus 1-1 on Saturday. He followed a three-goal game in a 4-0 win against Houston on Wednesday with his fifth goal of the season in the 66th minute. He settled a pass from Lloyd Sam on the left side of the box and put a shot through the legs of Crew defender Josh Williams and off the right post. "I ended up getting a good touch on it and getting a good strike on goal because I let two in the first half get away so I wanted to get one on target," Wright-Phillips said. He understands that a goal streak like hes on doesnt come around often. "Two weeks ago that probably would have got blocked and gone the other way on the attack," he said. "Thats how football goes, especially for strikers. We score a few games then you dont.&" Jairo Arrieta gave Columbus (3-1-3) the lead in the 39th minute with his first penalty kick attempt of his three-year Crew career after New York defender Kosuke Kimura fouled Justin Meram. Nike Air Force 1 Low Dame. The Red Bulls (2-2-5) are 2-0-1 in their past three games. "Its a very good point for us," Red Bulls coach Mike Petke said. "I was pleased with many aspects of the performance tonight. Obviously, after the first seven minutes we should have been up 2-0. There were two breakaways." The Crew is winless in four (0-1-3) including three straight draws, after opening the season with three consecutive victories under first-year coach Gregg Berhalter. "It was a decent effort," he said. "Heads were down in the locker room after the game because we couldnt close it out; we couldnt get the three points but there were a lot of positives." 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