Dwyane Wade-Ray Allen Matchup Will Be Key in Eastern Conference Finals

Amit BatraCorrespondent IIIMay 27, 2012

MIAMI - APRIL 23:  Guard Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics defends guard Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 23, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics have defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 85-75 in Game 7 and will advance to face the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference finals. 

The series will be a rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals, which the Heat won in five games.

There will be some interesting stories going into this series. 

First of all, will Chris Bosh be available at any point of the series? If you want my thoughts on that, I feel the Heat shouldn't rush anything, and make sure he is 100 percent healthy before he returns. No one wants to see him get re-injured. 

With Bosh out, who will be able to step up and guard Kevin Garnett

Garnett has been amazing with the 15-foot jump shot recently. He will not be an easy cover for the Heat. Also, how will the Heat fare against Rajon Rondo?

The matchup I'm most looking forward to, though, is Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade

Wade and Allen always have a couple of battles chasing each other around when the Celtics and Heat face one another. As stated before, Wade and James are on a complete tear right now. 

The same really can't be same with Allen, who has struggled with his jump shot. He went 3-of-11 (2-of-7 long-range) from the field in Game 7 against Philadelphia. However, the Celtics veteran did start building confidence at the end of that game against the Sixers.

Allen is a guy who is always running and trying to get an open look through screens.  Wade has previously mentioned how tough it is to chase down a guy like Allen. I'm sure it takes a toll on the body, even for a relatively young guy like Wade. Obviously, Wade isn't necessarily an easy cover either.

The battle between the two greats could be the key to who wins the series. It looks as if Allen has been battling injury lately, but then again, who is 100 percent healthy at this point of the season? 

What I've noticed out of Wade is that he has become a lot more aggressive as of late. In the early part of the Indiana series, he was relying heavily on his jump shot. Now Wade is attacking the basket and posting defenders up. 

Chances were that Avery Bradley would be the guy to guard Wade. Allen may be a bit old, but he can still be a solid defender. 

If Allen is connecting on his shot, a guy like Shane Battier or Mike Miller may have to switch on him. Wade can get his blocks and steals, but he isn't a top-notch defender. At times, even, he can play lazy defense. 

This will not cut it with a guy like Allen, who is capable of shooting the lights out, even with his recent slumps. 

The thing is that Allen doesn't have the fresh legs he once had. He can't defend guys like Wade as well he could in previous years. 

Don't get me wrong, Allen can still cover ground offensively and move through screens well, but to defend guys like Wade in a best-of-seven series is quite a daunting task. Allen just isn't the athletic defender that Bradley is. 

Allen is 36 years old, meaning he is older than Wade by six years. Wade is a guy that can split the defense and go through a whole team. Allen is more of a guy that doesn't create as much, but feeds off of Rondo. 

Both guys are difficult covers. It will be interesting to see who gets the better of the other, and how much age will play out in this battle of the Eastern Conference finals.