Quantcast 2011 Boston Celtics Basketball: NBA Playoffs - Boston vs Miami


Celtics Look Forward To Matchup Against Heat

Barring a mammoth comeback not seen in Philly since the American Revolution, the Boston Celtics will take on the Miami Heat in one of the most highly anticipated playoff series that the league has ever seen. This biblical showdown is sure to produce some of the most competitive basketball of the year, and also intense drama that will have America collectively popping Xanax at an alarming rate. On the line for the Celtics is one last championship for the old guard and the proof that a team is defined by the quality of its parts and not just the dominance of two individual players. All the pressure in the world should be pushing down on the mammoth back of Lebron James. He needs to redeem last year’s choke job against Boston, and prove that he should be considered amongst the highest echelon of NBA superstars.

Rajon Rondo completely dominated the Knicks, averaging 19 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds during the series. Mario Chalmers and Mike Bibby have done nothing against the 76ers but pass the ball to Lebron and Wade. Even if Delonte West is unable to use his superior intelligence and linguistic skills to rekindle his sexual flame with Lebron’s mom, the Celtics greatest advantage in this series will come at the point guard position.

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Guarding Dwayne Wade and Lebron James may be Boston’s most difficult task throughout the playoffs. Despite how well the Heat closed out the regular season, they still have not perfectly integrated two superstars that need the ball into a coherent offense. Wade and Lebron seem to be taking turns in the half-court, and the Celtics now have a perimeter defender in Jeff Green who has the size and length to bother Lebron. Green played excellent defense on Carmelo Anthony during the Knicks series, holding him to only 15 points in game 1 and game 3. The problem will be stopping this dynamic duo in transition. Shaq and Jermaine O’ Neal have a better chance of fitting through the doorways of a Hobbit hole then chasing down Lebron on the break.

The biggest surprise of the Knicks series was that someone finally defrosted Jermaine O’ Neal from his cryogenic sleep. JoNeal had a spectacular game 1 with 12 points and 4 blocked shots, and may have swung the tide of the whole series by causing the injury that knocked out Chauncey Billups. His sudden resurgence as a defensive force will be crucial to stopping Wade and Lebron from getting comfortable in the paint. The Celtics will have another advantage down low if Kevin Garnett is able to keep Chris Bosh in check. Like a Bosh doesn’t really have a post game yet, and KG should be able to take him on offense.

The battle of the benches isn’t even close; Big Baby, Jeff Green, Delonte West, and Nenad Kristic are no match for the Heat bench. Mike Miller might have great hair, but he hasn’t contributed the way the Heat thought he would. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a great player with Cleveland, but he’s too old to do much now and looks like the end result of a Russian nuclear super-soldier experiment during the Cold War. At this point in his career Big Z will be more excited to engage Nenad Kristic in conversation about Vodka and warm furry hats then actually play basketball. Big Baby could have a field day against Juwan Howard after a slightly disappointing series against the Knicks.

On offense the key for the Celtics in this series will be the shooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. In game 3 against the Knicks, this duo combined for 70 points. Ray Allen especially had an absolutely remarkable series at the age of 35, shooting 17 for 26 from behind the arc. We can assume, however, that Allen will not have the legs to shoot this well against Miami because he has to chase after Dwayne Wade. Pierce also has usually seen his offensive numbers dip while guarding Lebron James. The offensive onus may fall on KG and Rondo if Ray and Paul have to conserve energy for defense. If Shaq does eventually make a return in this series, he will also contribute.

Win or lose, this series has the makings of a classic. In a press conference after a loss earlier this year Dwayne Wade stated that the whole world loves to see Miami lose. Well Dwayne, you better stop being sensitive and realize that nobody feels bad for you. Your organization spent all its money on the best player in the NBA and one of its best big men, and now you have no excuse. Sorry Wade, KG isn’t going to hold your hand when he knocks you on your ass in the paint.



By: Jared Seigal
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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