Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics: The Miami Heat dominated the Indiana Pacers with their two stars, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade taking over each of the final three games. The Celtics on the other hand, struggled to the beat the 8th seeded Philadelphia 76ers but finally finished Philly off in Game 7, after a heroic fourth quarter performance by all-star point guard Rajon Rondo. These teams also played one another last postseason with the Heat winning in 5, which saw as the passing of the torch in the East.
The Celtics looked to matchup well against the Heat earlier in the playoffs, but that was before Avery Bradley had season ending surgery to cure a dislocated shoulder. Bradley had success guarding Dwayne Wade during the regular season (Boston won season series three games to one). With no one to contain Wade and not a person on Earth that can stop LeBron James, the Celtics’ chances look slim.
Expect Boston to play the Heat straight-up on defense and let James and Wade get their stats, but will try to stop all of the Heat’s roll players (Miller, Chalmers, Haslem ect.). Wade will most likely be guarded by Ray Allen, to start and end games, who has had his worst postseason of his career up to this point because of bone-spurs in his ankle. The Celtics will throw multiple defenders at James to try to “contain” him.
One bright spot for the Celtics is the reemergence of Kevin Garnett. If Chris Bosh misses or is ineffective (click here for details on his abdominal strain) for a good part of the Eastern Conference Finals, then this will greatly favor Boston because the Heat do not have another player capable of stopping Garnett on either end of the floor. Boston will also have a large mismatch in their favor when it comes point guard, because even though Mario Chalmers has played better in these playoffs he should be no match for Rondo. The Heat might put LeBron on Rondo like they did last year against Derrick Rose to limit Rondo’s penetration and vision.
Even with some advantages that go in Boston’s favor, it pains me to say (I’m a die-hard Celtic fan) that the Miami Heat should win the series 4-2 because of their two stars.
However the Celtics should not be counted out, because in the great words of Rudy Tomjanovich, “Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”