The Boston Celtics punched their ticket into the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night as they will now move on to face the Miami Heat. Both of these teams went through tough battles in the last round, so neither team should have a great rest advantage.
The Eastern and Western conference finals will be synonymous in a couple of ways; one of those being the ages of two of the teams. The Celtics, like the Spurs, are full of aging stars who are still effective, but not the same player they were five years ago. Rajon Rondo is their star and most important player now which means he’s going to have to play one of the best series of his life if they’re going to beat the Heat.
The other similarity is with the younger teams from both conferences. Assuming Bosh doesn’t play, and the Heat are practicing as if he won’t, both Miami and Oklahoma City have two electric scorers. Dwayne Wade and Russell Westbrook are similar in size and play a similar game. LeBron James isn’t as good of a three point shooter as Kevin Durant, but he is larger and more of a force driving to the basket.
If the Boston Celtics are going to win this series they’re going to have to slow the game down and limit the amount of times Wade and James can hurt them on the other end of the court. Wade will be a tough matchup for Ray Allen if Avery Bradley can’t play. Wade is too quick off the dribble for Allen, and even if he does stay in front Wade can pull up and hit a jumper.
The Celtics should have a size advantage even if Bosh can play lead by Kevin Garnett who has been great even at the age of 36. Brandon Bass was always a steady player for the Dallas Mavericks and has looked like he is capable of taking his game to a new level lately which will bode well for the Celtics.
The Celtics main disadvantage might be tired legs. It was a shortened season and it took them a while to get going, which is why it wouldn’t surprise me if the aging veterans don’t have what it takes physically to win another series.
The Heat have the look and make-up of a championship team, yet, in their second season together they still don’t have one, and it’s not a lock that they will get one this year either.
Their main hurdle in this series will be stopping Rondo. He has proven that he can win a game by himself this year, which is why the Heat needs to make stopping him their main objective. This assignment will likely go to more than one man. Mario Chalmers, Wade, and even maybe James could all see time on Rondo to present him with different looks.
If the Heat’s stars play like they have all season, and they get just average help from some of their role players the Celtics will be in trouble, and if Bosh is able to return during the series it might be too much for the Celtics to handle.
Everything is pointing to a Heat victory in this series,
Heat in 6.