Celtics vs. Heat: LeBron James and Miami Ready to Continue Dominance over Boston

Darin PikeContributor IOctober 30, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 07:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives in the second half against Brandon Bass #30 of the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

LeBron James and the Miami Heat have knocked the Boston Celtics out of the playoffs the last two seasons. They've struggled in regular-season games, though, losing six of eight since signing James.

The two teams are actually tied 10-10 in total games over the last two seasons, but advancing in the playoffs is what matters.

The Heat are 2-0 in that category.

This rivalry could be even more heated this season. Miami returns the core from their NBA championship team and also added former Celtic Ray Allen.

Boston has added a fair amount of talent to replace Allen, including the impressive draft class of Jared Sullinger, Kris Joseph and Fab Melo. They traded for Courtney Lee and acquired several quality veterans, including the scoring threats of Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa.

Rajon Rondo, via a Chris Forsberg article on ESPN Boston, is excited about the overall talent and the influx of youth on the Celtics.

They considered us old the last couple of years. We've got a good mix now, some young and some old. With our substitutions, our bench play, we've got young and old coming off the bench as well, with Jeff and [Terry], and Avery will be back soon.

So this is the deepest team we've had, and I look forward to this season.

The questions facing Boston won't be about depth. The concerns will focus on cohesion and talent among the top three or four players.

There is little doubt that Miami has the edge in both of those areas.

The Heat will be questioned on how long Allen and Dwayne Wade will be able to play at an elite level. Adding to the experience/age factor is the newly acquired Rashard Lewis.

The Celtics may be better equipped for the future, but the present still belongs to the Heat.

Allen will add a legitimate outside threat and will make it more difficult for Boston to beat them with a solid zone defense. Knowing Allen as well as they do, the Celtics are likely to overcompensate for the all-time king of three-point shooting.

That is when the other king, this one of the James variety, can take over a game.

The opening game will feature the Heat unveiling their championship banner and demonstrating they are still the team to beat in the NBA. As the season progresses, though, it will also be clear that Miami needs to follow Boston's lead and add some quality youth, particularly at shooting guard.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.