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Paul Pierce and LeBron James tend to bring the best out of each other.
Key Quote: On comments made by Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr.: "You have no idea what you are doing when you say those 'old' comments. I appreciate that. I don't read your columns, but it gets back to me."—Kevin Garnett.
It was Kevin Garnett making those comments to the media following Boston's series victory over Atlanta, but it really could have been anyone in the Celtics organization. Outside of that locker room you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks they can beat the Heat, but I dare you to say that to Garnett's or Paul Pierce's face.
Boston has a slightly better chance then San Antonio because of familiarity.
Round of Potential Matchup: If Boston can beat the 76ers and Miami can beat the Pacers the teams would meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. This would be the third spring in a row that LeBron would face Boston in the playoffs.
Record vs. Miami Post "Decision": The Celtics have seven wins to go with six losses over the past two seasons against the Heat (including playoffs).
Key Matchup: Rajon Rondo vs. Whomever Miami Uses to Try to Stop Rajon Rondo. If Rondo is a difference maker, they can beat Miami. Period.
Key Stat: Per 48 minutes of "crunch time" (final five minutes, neither team leads by more then five points) during the regular season, the Heat's big three of James, Wade, and Bosh averaged 95.4 points. Boston's big three of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen averaged 83.5 per 48 minutes. Considering how close games between these teams usually are, this series will be decided in the last five minutes of probably every game.
Take Miami's totals with a grain of salt because, again, those are regular season numbers.
Best Case Scenario: These two teams are like heavyweights, squaring off for the third time in four years.
They know each other too well for any surprises.
It's just down to will now. In a battle of wills between these two teams, Boston clearly has the edge. A raucous Boston crowd swallows LeBron whole, Rondo steals Game 1 on the road by himself, and Boston wins in six.
Prediction: If Boston isn't heading home for game six leading 3-2, they won't win the series. They can't win a Game 7 in Miami.
Heat in seven.