It seems like no matter where LeBron James goes the Boston Celtics follow. Whether it was back in Cleveland or currently down in South Beach, the road to the NBA Finals goes through bean town. Of all the teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs, this is the team the Heat match up the worst against. Boston gave Miami fits during the regular season, taking 3-of-4 games from the Heat. LBJ, Dwyane
Wade and company struggled to produce offensively against the C’s, and Doc Rivers has the ability to outcoach Erik Spoelstra in this series. So who has the advantage?
How the Heat can win: Ride the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade train. With Chris Bosh out due to an abdominal injury, LBJ and Wade will have to carry the offensive load the way they did against the Indiana Pacers. James averaged 32.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8 assists on 55 percent shooting, while Wade averaged 33 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 62 percent shooting. These are pretty lofty numbers. The duo will likely have to duplicate these numbers to take the Heat to their second consecutive NBA Finals.
How the Celtics can win: Make someone not named LeBron James or Dwyane Wade beat you. It sounds simple, but just ask the Knicks or the Pacers and they will tell you this is a case of “easier said than done.” Both players can score at will and simply take over a game offensively when they feel like it. In two of their three wins over the Heat in the regular season, the Celtics held Miami to just 72 and 66 total points. Boston showed in its last series against Philadelphia that they can win low-scoring affairs. Doc Rivers has a defensive blueprint for how to be successful against the Miami Heat. If his team follows it, they have a heck of a shot to make one last run to the Finals. Kevin Garnett will also need to have a huge series with Bosh out for the Heat.
Our prediction: Both of these teams match up well against each other. Both teams have a great deal of pressure to win it all this year based on talks of what could come in the offseason. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen will be free agents, and depending on their price tags in the open market, may not return next year to Boston. On Miami’s side, there have been talks of breaking up the “Big Three” if they
don’t win the title this year. They have had two seasons to gel together, and at times it just appears this experiment might not work out how Pat Riley had planned. Although Boston has the defensive capability to lock down either James or Wade on any night to give themselves a chance to win, LBJ and Wade are playing at too high a level to be stopped in a seven game series by the Celtics. Miami wins a tough, physical series in six games. But don’t be surprised if it goes all the way to seven games.