Bienvenidos a Miami. A place where people have to be kidnapped in order to attend any sports event that does not include the University of Miami or the Miami Dolphins. A city more concerned with staying out till 5 a.m. drinking overpriced drinks (ask me, managed to tab up $100.00 on 9 drinks with friends…I know) than supporting the city. A place where the people are not even natives. Ah, yes. The wonderful beaches (New Englanders, have you been to Miami? The water is safer in New Jersey), the grade D celebrities and of course…
THE MIAMI HEAT. P.S. They play in Downtown Miami, not South Beach, LeBron.
Onto a short and delirious analysis of the most hyped matchup of the NBA Playoffs in recent memory.
Facts & Figures
The Celtics took 3 of 4 from Miami in the regular season needing Kendrick Perkins for only one of them. We’re just going to take that excuse away right now. Last time these two met the Celtics got clobbered and honestly, did we not see that coming? They checked out of the regular season about a month early leaning on trades and new faces as a subconscious excuse. The Celtics won both games on their home court.
Now, I am no professional sportswriter, but thanks to this new trusty NBA Stats Cube found on NBA.com, we can get a feel for the way these starting lineups matchup.
Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett and J. O’Neal
Bibby, Wade, James, Bosh, and Ilgauskas
The Cube has the Celtics at a team average of 99.3 points per game. With the starting lineup on the floor, that number moves up to 109.9. Conversely, the Heat have a team average of 93.3 points per game and the number decreases to 81.6 with their starting five. Chris Bosh stays on the floor longer than any other member of the “Big” 3. These numbers are based on the first round so they are a bit deceiving. As a fan, I wanted the Celtics to lock up the second seed in the East, but I knew that the Knicks would actually be a better matchup than the Pacers or Philadelphia for one reason: no defense. That shows in the 62.5% shooting from long range for the Celtics against the Knicks. However, considering that the Heat played a “tougher” team than the Knicks defensively (reflecting in the numbers), what do you suppose happens when they play the best defense in the league (your Boston Celtics)?
Still Factual, but More of My Opinion
This team has absolutely turned it on while the Heat could easily slump into the struggles of their regular season. Give it to Miami that they have come so far within their first year of being together, but the sport of basketball knows one thing and that thing is chemistry. The most important players of this series have been down this road more times with more success. LeBron’s Cavs couldn’t beat the old Celtics and neither could Wade’s Heat…do I have to say Bosh’s Raptors? The whole “home court” advantage does not exist in Miami. Hell, they had to make a website dedicated to the “White Hot Heat” that hands out white t-shirts to fans and makes the stands look more bare (was that possible?) than during the regular season. Erik Spoelstra is still just a glorified video analyst given no respect by his high profile players and the Heat are not quite prepared on paper or in reality. Rondo has stepped up tremendously and should easily be able to use Miami’s low talent level at point guard against them. Don’t be surprised to see Wade on him leaving below average defenders on a constantly moving Allen. There is no way to defend those two without one getting a hot hand. Another thing I am very excited to watch is how Jermaine O’Neal plays in a place where he was last seen being throttled by the Celtics. Was knee surgery and new scenery really the answer? It seems to me that J.O. and Michael Beasley were just not in it for the Heat whatever the reason was. J.O. knows what his role is and has been playing it flawlessly.
Main things to watch:
LeBron going for 50. He’ll try, he may get there, but everyone else will score 25 combined.
Wade having horrible offensive games.
K.G. making Chris Bosh cry.
J.O. shooting jumpers over Joel Anthony.
Rondo and Ray Allen running circles around Bibby and Chalmers.
James Jones answering with his own three-pointers right when you thought you started to pull away.
Erik Spoelstra looking like a bunny.
It’s Late. Who Wins?
Many people are saying this series goes to 7, I say 6 and won’t be surprised by 5.
Celtics win Games 1, 3, 4, and 6.