Season Series: Boston 3-0
This is just a preview for one of the eight games, for all eight match-ups, click below
The Boston Celtics aren't quite the team they were two years ago when they won the NBA Championship. Well, in a sense they are because they still have Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rando and Kendrick Perkins, and they even picked up Rasheed Wallace to boost their defense (he's also added almost 10 points per game). Where lies the problem? Here it is; the Celtics are getting old. An 82-game season, plus the playoffs is grueling on the body and considering the big three for Boston (Pierce, Garnett and Allen) average age is 34 years old, its going to be awfully hard to keep place with young teams like Cleveland, Orlando or Atlanta as the playoffs continue. Don't get me wrong, they all still have a lot of talent and they'll walk past Miami but 2008 was their year, 2010 is the year for someone else (don't be surprised if its the Western Conference as they've won 7 of the last 11 championships and the most interesting part is the Spurs and Lakers have won all seven).
Back on April 7, Garnett tweeked his knee in a game against the Raptors and even though he won't let it keep him out of the playoffs, the only person who knows if he is at 100 percent is himself, but if a pretty safe bet to say he won't be, at least he won't be there 100 percent mentality if not physically. There is no question the Celtics starting five is full of talent, and even Wallace (who has kinda stunk) and recently acquired Nate Robinson should help the Celtics chances of making a deep run in the playoffs but Boston combined to go 3-9 against the three teams ahead of them (Atlanta, Orlando and Cleveland) and with that record, it'll be tough to get past the second round after presumably coasting through the first. Boston has been there before (deep in the playoffs) and that experience is going to be impossible to stop for Miami but once Boston sees the likes of Cleveland, Orlando or Atlanta, expect not only great basketball but for Boston's age to catch up to them.
Unfortunately for Miami Heat fans, you will see a trend as the my Eastern Conference preview rolls on but honestly, it is nothing to be surprised about. The top four teams in the East (Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta and Boston) are all head and shoulders above the remaining four teams (Milwaukee, Miami, Charlotte and Chicago). With that being said, don't tell Dwayne Wade because the guy is ridiculously skilled with a basketball and already has a Championship under his belt (yeah, mainly to the help of Shaq). There is no question that this is Wade's team now (it always was but he needed a big-man like Shaq to win it) but Miami has done what they can to help Wade by picking up Michael Beasley in the draft two years ago and also got Jermaine O'Neil via trade from the Raptors. Udonis Haslem and Quintin Richardson also dish in but what Miami is missing is what was the most pivotal part of their 2005-06 championship run: the big man.
Dwayne Wade can't do it all himself; he is not LeBron, Kobe, Durant or Carmelo (who all but Durant) have a better cast of teammates surrounding them. Although Wade does average 25+ points, just under five rebounds and over 6.5 assists I can't see him doing enough to get past a team that in every way is better than his. Again, the big man is the reason the Heat will duck out early and by early I mean five games... they'll be lucky to even win one in this series folks. Jermaine O'Neil may not be at 100 percent but he has come back from injury and will definitely be a boost the Heat who will need him real bad but the fact he won't be playing at full strength is going to hurt Miami, and hurt them bad. It honestly wouldn't matter what Nos. 1-4 seeds played Nos. 5-8 because the four best teams in the East are moving on.
TheCoach's Pick: BOSTON in FIVE