The NBA season finally gets under way tonight. The Miami Heat have a chance to prove to fans around the world that they are not all hype. However, they do not have a pushover game to begin the season.
The Heat take on the Boston Celtics tonight at 7:30 on TNT. Boston had a disappointing ending to their season last year, losing to the Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
The Celtics are back again this year with their own big three, and newly acquired big man Shaquille O’Neal to provide points and important rebounds off the bench in place of Kendrick Perkins.
Some fans argue that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are past their prime. While they are not as efficient running the floor as they used to be, point guard Rajon Rondo provides this quickness on the court which opens up the outside shots for Allen, and also opens up cut lanes for Pierce to the basket. When you throw the veteran Kevin Garnett in the mix, the Celtics have a deadly combination on paper.
So do the Heat.
The Heat made a lot of noise this offseason. With the signing of Lebron James and Chris Bosh, Miami also provides a stacked offense on paper.
Lebron and Wade offer a versatile approach on offense with both players having the ability to drive to the basket as well as hitting the outside shot. This approach really spreads the floor which causes mismatches down low for Bosh.
The addition of Mike Miller and the drafting of Da’Sean Butler open more possibilities under the basket.
The Heat however suffered some setbacks in the preseason. Dwayne Wade has not participated much in practice the last two weeks because of a hamstring injury he suffered in the first preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. Also center Juwan Howard is questionable, and point guard Mario Chalmers is out for the season opener.
Also, the latest reports show that Mike Miller could be out until at least January.
So can the Heat play like the championship team they are built up to be, or will the lineup of All-Stars be a major bust? These former leaders may find trouble creating the chemistry needed to win a championship.
The Celtics have proven that they have that chemistry and the ability to perform in the playoffs. The Heat have to prove that tonight, against a powerful Celtic lineup that will try to show that the Heat are not as good as they say.
Prediction: Celtics 118 - Heat 112