Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals didn't waste too much time beating around the bush. Although the Boston Celtics were able to stay competitive for stretches on the strength of their defense, they were ultimately—and predictably—overwhelmed by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Miami's status as favorites in this series isn't just lip service—the Heat are legitimately the better team. And if that wasn't enough, they have the benefit of operating against a Celtics squad with rather significant injuries to some of its most crucial contributors.
Without Ray Allen bouncing around screens at full speed and Pierce able to trigger off of a healthy knee, Boston doesn't have much hope of generating enough offense to make it to the NBA Finals.
It may seem early yet for such proclamations, but expecting Boston to win—or even to stretch this series to any considerable length—would go against most of the empirical evidence available. This is Miami's series to lose, as Boston lacks any ability to seize it from them at this point.
The biggest question remaining after Game 1: How long can the Celtics stick around? They are now three losses away from the offseason. But considering their periodic defensive effectiveness in Game 1, can the C's be expected to potentially piece together enough scoring to win a game against an elite opponent?