A couple weeks back, the Knicks’ Jared Jeffries suggested the Chicago Bulls were a more vulnerable playoff opponent than the Miami Heat. But even in an era where offhand comments are megaphoned into brash proclamations, no one cared. One reason Jeffries’s statement failed to cause much conflagration: He’s Jared Jeffries. The other? He was clearly right.
Since the Bucks were removed from the playoff picture, the Knicks and the Sixers spent a week tussling for the seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference. In a small twist, facing off against the top-ranked Bulls is less frightening than a run-in against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Derrick Rose’s lingering injury is part of it, but the Heat are the only team in basketball that pulses with scariness. When they’re playing well, there’s an otherworldly ferocity that cannot be matched.