In the words of the Joker: "And Here...We...Go..." I'm jacked up for this series. It's going to get ugly. These teams hate each other. The Celtics—Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo. The Heat—James, Wade, Bosh. Seven all-stars on one court. This is going to be awesome.
I mentioned this on my blog (TwoGuysTalkingSports) in the first round, but when I think of the Celtics, I think of Viagra. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett need a little blue pill. When men are young and get lucky with a lady on a fateful night in the bar scene, they go home and can pull out all the stops. They have the moves that the ladies like, and it’s not a one-track album, if you catch my drift.
But as we age, something happens. When we men get older, something happens. We still have all the right moves. But our back creaks, our stamina decreases, and it takes a hell of a lot longer to start the engine on the automobile. And once it does start, it’s probably not catching again until morning. That’s where the little blue pill comes in. But ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think the doctor wrote the Celtics a prescription this year.
The Celtics got lucky in the first round as the Knicks suffered some debilitating injuries to Chauncey Billups and Amar'e Stoudemire that crippled their chances. The Celtics smelled blood and swept.
Meanwhile, the Heat drew a 76ers team that played its little butts off throughout the entire series. The 76ers gave El Heat all they could handle, and I think that challenge was a nice "breakfast" that helped focus the team coming into this series. As LeBron said, now the Heat are "ready for some lunch."
Series Stud: Dwyane Wade
Not LBJ, I know. LeBron and DWade are going to get their points; LeBron may even average a triple-double. But I'm not talking about the best player overall, I'm talking about the player that is going to be the stud for this particular series.
And in this matchup of two top-five defensive units, the key is about shutting down the other team's catalyst. For the Celtics, that's Rajon Rondo. DWade better stick on him like white on rice or else the Celtics are going to be able to challenge the heat to the brink in this series.
My guess? Wade does everything he can to keep his man in front of him. He had 2 SPG and 1.4 BPG in the first-round series while averaging 22.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG. If he can put up similar numbers while shutting down Boston's biggest creator, Wade's going to win his team this series.
The Heat are going to wear down the Celtics on defense, and the Celtics hope to wear down the Heat on their D. So basically, this series could be a pick 'em.
But I just don't know how you stop the Heat on offense. When you have three of the game's best offensive players, the possibilities are endless. Chris Bosh is a maestro in the mid-range game, and Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are...Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
LBJ and DWade play similar slash-and-create games, so if the Celtics stop one, they can't stop the other. If they start running a pick-and-roll all series, it's going to create some matchup problems for the Celtics.
Additionally, I've been very impressed with the PG duo of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers. While Bibby is a defensive liability, it seems that Chalmers has become a more effective game manager since Bibby joined the team. Maybe the vet is showing the youngster a few tricks of the trade.
Throw in the three-point shooting of James Jones and center Joel Anthony's defensive presence, and it becomes evident that this team really only has one weakness: Inside offense. If Zydrunas Ilgauskas can throw in eight to 10 points in 15 minutes, it would be a huge boost to the team's chances. If not, the Heat are playing 4-on-5 on offense.
As I alluded to earlier, Rondo is the key to this series. Allen, Garnett and Pierce are getting up there in age. Sure, the team is on nine days' rest, but it's not like the Heat played a seven-game slugfest, either.
Pierce is going to be primarily guarded by LeBron James, which will neutralize him to some extent. Mario Chalmers and James Jones are quick enough to keep up with Ray Allen as he rolls off screens, which is essential. Joel Anthony can match up with Kevin Garnett and isolate the aging superstar in the post.
But Rondo is the Celtics catalyst. His ability to penetrate opens up perimeter threes for Allen and Pierce, and helps draw attention for back side passes to Garnett in the post. The Heat—primarily Wade—HAVE to shut down Rondo's ability to create or else it may be a long series.
This team has not looked the same or played with the same intensity since the Perkins trade to OKC. If the O'Neals (Jermaine and Shaq—who may not play in Game 1) can make an impact and destroy Big Z and Chris Bosh on the inside, they may actually be the key to the series.
In my mind, the Celtics' offensive deficiencies toward the end of the season, their luck in the first round against the Knicks and the Heat's defensive tenacity are telling signs that this may be the end of the road for Boston.
This series is going to be a slobberknocker. There may be a melee or two throughout. But I just feel like the Celtics are a tad too old. They caught a break against the beat-up Knicks in the first round, and I think they get exposed here. The Heat's Big Three takes over, and the Celtics last great shot at another title is over. Heat in 6.
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