NBA Playoff Schedule 2011: 10 Bold Predictions for Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Luis BatlleContributor IApril 29, 2011

NBA Playoff Schedule 2011: 10 Bold Predictions for Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics during a game  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will square off Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, featuring arguably the two most talented ball clubs remaining in the postseason.

    The match-up features seven All-Stars: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. Rest assured, NBA fans are in for a thriller of a series in this best-of-seven showdown.

    The Celtics made their first round quick, sweeping the newly formed New York Knicks, who had high hopes this postseason with the acquisition of both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.

    LeBron James and the Heat were given a tough series from Philadelphia, winning three of the four games by single digits. The 76ers would lose a lead in Game 5 of the series that would have forced a Game 6 back in Philly, ultimately losing the series 4-1.

    These are 10 bold predictions for what fans could argue is the most anticipated match-up of the second round.

10. LeBron James Puts Up 40

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 21: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts after a play against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half of game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center on April 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylv
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Might not be the boldest of predictions to some. I mean c'mon, its LeBron James, right?

    What most might not realize, the No. 1 defense in the league has yet to lose a step this postseason.

    In the four games with the Knicks, the Celtics allowed 90.8 points per game, slightly better than the 91.1 allowed per contest in the regular season.

    Despite tough team defense from the Celtics, James will manage to pull out a 40-point game, as much attention will be focused on Bosh, Wade, and three-point shooters on kick-outs.

9. Rajon Rondo Goes off

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics calls a play against the New York Knicks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO US
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Rajon Rondo had a field day with the Knicks, averaging 12 assists and 10.6 points per game in the first-round series. In the last three games of the series, he averaged 22 points.

    Granted, Chauncey Billups was out three games of the series, Rondo deserves his credit. If Billups had played, Rondo's life may have been made a tad more difficult, without question.

    Regardless, the guy has come to play this postseason, as his 12 assists a game lead all players in the playoffs.

    This series will again be a walk in the park for the Celtics starting point guard, as he faces the likes of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers, who are not known for their defense.

    Reminiscent of the Knicks series with Tony Douglas on the defensive end, Rondo will have a gleaming stat line.

8. Spike Lee Makes an Appearance in South Beach

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22:  Director Spike Lee reacts as the New York Knicks play against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Celt
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Who wouldn't want to see the tricked out, geared up, Spike Lee running up and down the side lines like it was Madison Square Garden?

    In disgust of being swept by the Boston Celtics, Lee will show up in South Beach for Game 1 of the series in support of the Miami Heat.

    It might not be realistic, but that would be something to watch. Next thing you know, Spike will be sporting a James jersey.

7. Celtics Steal Game 1 in Miami

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10:  Rajon Rondo #9  of the Boston Celtics looks on during a game against the Miami Heat  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or us
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    A determined, streaking Boston Celtics team will carry their first-round momentum into Miami Sunday afternoon.

    In what will be a nail-biter of a game, impressive shooting performances from Ray Allen and Paul Pierce will ignite a Celtics win in Game 1 on the road.

    Rondo will prove to be a factor as well, penetrating and dishing out to open shooters.

    Miami Heat fans will sadly see their Heat lose the opener in the series, despite home-court advantage.

6. Miami Heat Bench Produce More Than Boston Celtics Bench

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 30:  James Jones #22 of the Miami Heat celebrates after making a shot against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 30, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Players like James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, and Eddie House will all be crucial components in the second-round series against the Boston Celtics.

    The Miami Heat are at their best when players outside of the Big Three are hitting their open looks on drive-and-kick plays. Each of the Big Three scoring 20 points won't be enough to get it done, as bench production will be key for the Heat.

    The Celtics bench struggled mightily in the first-round series, with Glen Davis averaging fewer than five points per game.

    The bench will step-up for the C's, as there is no way they could play worse than they have been playing this postseason, yet in the end, the Heat's bench will be the more efficient.

5. The Chicago What? Rose Who?

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics at United Center on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 97-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Unfortunately for Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, the two best teams in the Eastern Conference are those matching up in the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat series.

    The Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and Atlanta Hawks are all talented ball clubs, but don't match up to the talent or production of teams like the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

    The Celtics have four starters that have won a championship together. The Heat's Big Three includes Wade and James, who are two of the better scoring talents the league has to offer.

    Not to mention, Wade has a championship of his own that he won with the Celtics' Shaquille O'Neal.

4. Shaq Plays in a Game

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Shaquille O'Neal of the Boston Celtics attends NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
    Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

    Does Shaquille O'Neal still have it left in him to make a comeback?

    Based on his recent outings, probably not.

    Will he? Yes.

    Sometime this series, Shaq will make an appearance, and it won't be in dress clothes.

3. Dwyane Wade Will Struggle

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat looks on during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER:
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    As talented of a player as Dwyane Wade is, he will find his share of struggles against the Boston Celtics defense in the series.

    Keep in mind, in four games against the Celtics this season, here are his numbers: 12.8 points per game, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 28.1 percent shooting.

    At first glance, these are the numbers one would expect from the average role player playing 20-25 minutes a game.

    Wade is no sixth man, but his production won't improve much more against the Celtics in the postseason.

    In the NBA playoffs, where match-ups can make or break a series, Wade tends to struggle against the Celtics.

2. KG and Chris Bosh Go at It

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    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat has words with Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 26, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Heat lost 88-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Things will get chippy between Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett, as their production may play out to be one of the bigger factors in either team winning the series.

    The two don't have the best history with one another, and will put their scoring abilities on display.

    KG will try and impose his will on the defensive end where he thrives, while Bosh will try to teach Garnett a thing or two with his smooth mid-range game.

    What a match-up to watch. Don't be surprised if the better player this series also determines the series outcome.

1. The Boston Celtics Beat the Miami Heat in the Series

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Celtics
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Kevin Garnett and company can smell a postseason upset, as the third-seed Boston Celtics will beat the favored Miami Heat in six games, 4-2.

    With Ray Allen and Paul Pierce shooting the lights out in Round 1, and Rajon Rondo again going against guards who aren't known for their defense, the Celtics offense will make life difficult for the Heat defense.

    The Heat also have a high-powered, ridiculously talented core on offense, but go against the best defense in the NBA, as well a team that owns a plethora of playoff experience.

    When it's all said and done, the Heat will play high-level basketball and challenge the older, weaker Celtics team to step up to the plate.

    The Celtics should come ready for the challenge, taking the series and moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.