Boston Celtics or Miami Heat? Who Should the Eastern Conference Favorites Be?

Michael BurkeContributor IIIJanuary 6, 2011

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts after Paul Pierce #34 of the Celtics is called for a technical foul in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs on January 5, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Spurs 105-103. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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Let the debate begin. Two of the four best records in the NBA belong to the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The experienced Celtics are just half a game better, at 27-7, than the new-look Heat at 28-9.

So, who should be the Eastern conference favorites? Should it be the flashy and extremely talented Heat? Or the experienced and veteran Celtics?

In my opinion, although you could make a great case for the Heat, it’s the Celtics for a few reasons.

Boston has been an elite team in the East for a few years now, and has reached the NBA Finals two of the past three seasons. Meanwhile, the Heat have absolutely no playoff experience whatsoever and this could present a problem come playoff time.

Another reason I like Boston as the favorites more is because of their size compared to the Heat. Sure, the Heat are more talented with two of the three best players in the league and Chris Bosh to complement them, but they are very outmatched as far as big guys go.

Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal and a healthy Kendrick Perkins is about as stacked as it gets with big men. This is compared to Chris Bosh, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier.

That’s as lopsided as it gets, and remember in the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers—the team that won the rebounding battle won the game, proving how important it really is to dominate the glass.

Another thing in the Celtics' favor is their depth. Yes they have Rondo, Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen, but they are extremely deep once you get past them.

Glen Davis has really done a great job this season, and guys like Shaq, Nate Robinson and Delonte West can really contribute to this team. Also, expect Kendrick Perkins to make a great impact when he returns.

Meanwhile, once you get past LeBron, Wade and Bosh there are a lot of question marks for Miami.

Is Mike Miller ever going to be healthy? Who is going to consistently play well at point guard for the Heat? Can Ilgauskas or someone else step up and play well at center?

As far as I’m concerned, the Celtics will have a lot of things in their favor when and if these two teams meet in the playoffs.

One thing’s for sure, it will be highly anticipated and very exciting to be able to witness.