Article found at Beantown Sports Observer
After a rather inconsistent and injury filled season for the Celtics this season, they must pull themselves together as they will face Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Boston finished the season with a nice 50-32 record whereas the Heat finished 47-32. Separated by three wins these two teams will square off to see who will get to play the role of underdog throughout the rest of the playoffs.
When it comes to the Heat's chances in this round, I find their chances of succeeding quite good. Miami has some valuable youth in Michael Beasly and superstar, Dwayne Wade, who could potentially propel the Heat further into the playoffs. Wade is a valuable leader in the clubhouse, who has to be a huge influence on the rest of the team with his contract expiring following this season. The Heat need to prove they are contenders to convince Dwayne Wade that they can not only contend for the championship this season, but for many more in the future.
Boston, on the other hand has to have some sort of advantage as well with the series starting at the TD Garden, though they struggled at home for a good stretch of the season. Nonetheless, I think playing at home is good for the Celtics because TD Garden will be a whole different atmosphere in the postseason and it should only encourage the Celtics to win. Besides that, you have the experience factor of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce as well as the young and brash, Rajon Rondo, who had a very good season. The problem is that most of the lineup is aging and signs of inconsistency were present throughout the entire 2009-10 campaign.
The "Big Three," consisting of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen had seasons full of injuries and inconsistency. Although Ray Allen showed signs of improvement as he made 47 of his 48 final free throws this season. Another issue is the bench, that was a huge letdown this season and it will remain a big question mark in the playoffs, a la Rasheed Wallace. It is certainly a tough road ahead for the "Green Machine," which showed many signs of slowing down. They lost seven of their final ten games and are a huge underdog after being called the favorites to win it all prior to this season.
Both teams showed their inconsistent offenses throughout the season as well as showing they were two well built defensive teams. It is really pretty evenly matched, but with Boston's struggles as of late it is hard to believe Dwayne Wade and the Heat won't move on further into the playoffs. You could argue that the youth and inexperience of Michael Beasley and Joel Anthony could lead to their potential downfall, but with D-Wade playing the role as the influence and leader of the clubhouse, I think they will still perform well latter in the series. Both teams are really on the opposite ends of the scale when it comes to age and you could argue it's better to be on the side of the younger and healthier Heat opposed to the aged and worn down Celtics.
As big of a Celtics fan I am, when I look at their team, I see a very uninspired team that will be limping into the Garden that will be lucky to get past the Heat. In my mind the Celtics are the better team, but under these circumstances I'm going to go out and say that the Heat will advance to the second round in six games. It's hard for many C's fans to accept this reality, but it will be nothing short of a miracle if Boston advances. The odds are stacked against them and they can only hope the youth and inexperience of the Heat will be their ultimate downfall.