Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Just thinking about this potential matchup makes me crave basketball season even more. This could be Boston's last legitimate chance of winning another NBA championship for the foreseeable future, so look for them to lay it all on the line at this point.
With Ray Allen donning Miami colors this time around, Boston will have to look for other options to torch the Heat from deep. Luckily for them, free agent Jason Terry should be the right fit for the job. He's a veteran shooting guard who can light it up from downtown and be effective in any given role.
While Terry is a nice fit, Boston still brings back most of the main pieces that have made them so dangerous over the past few seasons.
Rajon Rondo continues to develop offensively and prove to be one of the best overall players in the NBA. He's quick, plays elite defense and continues to be a playmaker with the ball. He caused Miami fits in last season's playoffs, averaging 20.9 points and 11.3 assists during the series, but will have to play an even bigger role now.
While past their respective primes, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce provide much more than statistics for Boston. They will have to be emotional leaders on the floor as well as step up when called upon.
The Celtics will have a well-rounded group of guards with the acquisition of Courtney Lee and a healthy Avery Bradley on board. While Lee will be a threat from deep, Bradley will greatly contribute with solid defensive efforts and a lot of energy.
We will also see some physical big men in Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger. Both can rebound effectively and hit jumpers from mid-range.
Looking at this roster shows that they will have no lack of depth next season. Injuries plagued them heavily last season, but a fresh start could bring different results in a potential rematch.
Miami will once again have to rely on their athletic ability to down the Celtics in seven or less games. Boston is a tough, defensive-minded team that can spread the floor and create turnovers. Taking care of the ball will be a major difference for the Heat, but they continue to improve upon this.
In the end, no player will be able to stop LeBron James. He had his way with Boston the last two years and nothing looks like it will change now.
Spreading the floor and drawing out Garnett will be a deciding factor in this one. Chris Bosh and the rest of the outside shooters will need to be consistent in order to win comfortably, so look for Ray Allen to show exactly why he jumped sides in this rivalry.
Prediction: 4-3 Miami