NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat is Finally Here

Brian DeCandiaContributor IIApril 29, 2011

Rajon Rondo diving after a loose ball
Rajon Rondo diving after a loose ballJim Rogash/Getty Images

Remember that infamous Sunday afternoon in April when the Heat smacked the Celtics 100-77? Yeah, well, so does Boston.

The Celtics hold the 3-1 series edge over the Heat this season, but the most unforgettable game was the one where the Celtics got completely outplayed in Miami. Boston was out-rebounded 42-26, only grabbing three offensive boards—yes, three.

A reason for that may have been the absence of Kendrick Perkins. The Perkins trade has been talked about as the worst trade by a contending team at the deadline in NBA history. To some extent that may be true, but KP would not have been the deciding factor in this series. The C's have proven that they can beat the Heat without Perkins, twice. Not only did they beat the Heat but they did it in two different ways, with defense in the 88-80 game and offense in the 112-107 bout.

Sure, Heat fans can say, since the expansion no team has swept the first round and won the NBA title, but that is just an excuse they've made because their team couldn't get it done in four, against the lowly 76ers.

Since their worst loss of the season in Miami, the Celtics have re-emerged as the team to beat in the NBA Playoffs and you would be a fool to tell me you didn't see it coming.

Boston is playing the best basketball in the NBA at this point and time. The C's have the best PPG differential in the playoffs at +8.5 per game. They are shooting a playoff best .477 from the field and .467 from beyond the arc. Not only has their offense flourished but their defense has been nearly immovable holding opponents to a playoff best .386 from the field.

All facets of this series seem to be on an equal playing field, except at point guard. Rajon Rondo is clearly the best point guard in this series and commands the floor like a true general.

The C's do not need him to score—I repeat they do not need him to scoreor even shoot for that matter. In fact, if he shoots it might hurt the team. Another thing the Celtics can not afford, is to have Rondo play hero ball, like Russell Westbrook did in games four and five for the Thunder.

Rondo's job is to control the flow of the game, penetrate the lane and dish when the easy bucket isn't there. Rondo is finally starting to realize he is playing with three potential Hall of Famers, that can all shoot the ball much better than he can. His 12 assists per game is the best in the playoffs and Rondo will continue to rack up the assists in this series.

Celtics take the series in six at home.