THE 2012-13 NBA SEASON is a tease. It is a restaurant advertising its food in slow motion to make it look more appealing. It is a friendly smile that is mistaken for romantic interest. It is Tony Romo passing for 350 yards this week, making you think it will translate into a big-time playoff performance next week.
This season has wonderful narratives: Kyrie Irving is terrific. The Knicks are simmering, close to a boil, a potential danger once the snow melts. The Thunder are right on schedule in their championship ascension, thus far defending their Western Conference title with cold efficiency. The Spurs, in their never-ending twilight, just win and win. And there is fun to be had in Houston, Oakland and Indianapolis and even, it seems in the not-too-distant future, Seattle again. The Lakers, car-wreck interesting, still have Kobe Bryant performing at a high level. The Celtics carry on with pride and purpose, even as the long season threatens to devour their old bones; they are a less-talented team without Rajon Rondo but maybe a better one.
But for all these compelling storylines, there is no compelling evidence that any team -- not the Knicks, Bulls, Spurs, Clippers or even the Thunder -- can beat the Heat four times in seven games.