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Shaquille O'Neal Says The Miami Heat Aren't Afraid To Face The Brooklyn Nets In Playoffs: "Miami Wants All The Smoke... They Ain't Scared Of Nobody."

Shaquille O'Neal Says The Miami Heat Aren't Afraid To Face The Brooklyn Nets In Playoffs: "Miami Wants All The Smoke... They Ain't Scared Of Nobody."

The Brooklyn Nets are currently the most dangerous lower seed in the Eastern Conference. Their 11-game losing skid earlier in the season led the Nets to fall into the play-in spots and getting out of that situation while not having Kyrie Irving playing consistently is looking tough for them. But they will likely qualify for the playoffs behind Kevin Durant's performances as the 7th or the 8th seed. 

If they end up being the 8th seed, then the Nets could face the Miami Heat in the first round who are the 1st seed at this point. There is speculation among the league that teams will try to avoid the Nets in the first round thanks to the star power at their disposal, but Shaquille O'Neal doesn't think that Miami will be one of those teams. 

Discussing the issue with Candance Parker and Dwyane Wade on TNT on Tuesday night, Shaq backed the Heat to be unafraid to take on all challengers, suggesting that they want the tough matchup that the Nets will bring. Parker and Wade suggested that it wouldn't be so, but Shaq doubled down on his take.

"Miami wants all that smoke. Cut it out. Miami want that smoke. They want all that smoke. They ain't scared of nobody. When you (Parker) say they don't want it, seems to me like you're trying to say they're scared."

The Heat are a team of gritty individuals who have formed a cohesive unit under the excellent coaching of Erik Spoelstra, but to suggest that they would welcome the challenge of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and a possibly resurgent Ben Simmons in the first round might be a bit much. 

Winning the NBA title means you have to beat the best teams at some point, though, so they might not be looking to avoid it actively either. Only time will tell, and the only thing that is certain is the fact that if this matchup does end up happening, it will possibly be the best series in the first round of this season's NBA playoffs.