Monday, May 28, 2012


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

SEASON SERIES: Celtics won 3-1
ANALYSIS: The Miami Heat withstood everything that the Indiana Pacers could throw at them, but turned up the pressure in the last three games to win in six. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were able to take over in the last three games averaging 65.7 points to offset the loss of Chris Bosh. Having Bosh back would certainly help the Heat, but for the meanwhile, James and Wade will need scoring help.

It took a tough seven game series, but the Boston Celtics defeated an up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers squad who could be special down the road. Making it to its third East Final in five years, this could be the last hurrah for Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce together as teammates, but they are ready for one last run at a title. Avery Bradley’s defense will be missed, but Rajon Rondo will look to get timely steals and incorporate everyone on offense.

PG: Mario Chalmers vs. Rajon Rondo 
ADVANTAGE: Rajon Rondo (Celtics)
-Rondo is continuing his strong play this season in the playoffs, leading all players in playoff steals (32) and assists per game (12.3). His triple-double against the Sixers (18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) in Game 7 was his third this postseason and he will look to get everyone involved. Chalmers had his best game in Game 3 against Indiana with 25 points and five assists but Rondo will have the better advantage.

SG: Dwyane Wade vs. Ray Allen 
ADVANTAGE: Dwyane Wade (Heat)
-Both players have had their struggles in the playoffs this year, but Wade is on fire thanks to his recent streak of games. After scoring just five points in Game 3 against Indiana, Wade closed out the last three games with an average of 33.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 40-for-65 from the field. Allen is battling through injuries and a rough shooting stretch, but he showed that he can still be reliable with two 3-pointers in Game 7 against Philadelphia in the fourth quarter.

SF: LeBron James vs. Paul Pierce 
ADVANTAGE: LeBron James (Heat)
-In what should be the best position battle in this series, James will take an edge here in the showdown of future hall-of-famers. Defensively, both James and Pierce performed well this postseason, but how they stop each other will tell everything. The 2011-12 MVP comes into this series averaging 29.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, while Pierce is averaging 19.3 points and 6.9 rebounds.

PF: Bosh/Battier vs. Brandon Bass 
ADVANTAGE: Bosh (if he plays), Bass (if Bosh does not play)
-With Bosh’s status still up in the air for this series, it looks as if Battier will start against Bass at power forward until Bosh returns. Bass has shown that he can step up when needed in the playoffs, thanks to his 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. However, his 27 points and six rebounds sparked Boston in Game 5 against the 76ers. The Heat were able to get by the Pacers without Bosh, but they still missed his post presence. Battier only shot 21.2 percent from the field against Indiana, but he is mostly used for his defense and a needed 3-pointer.

C: Ronny Turiaf vs. Kevin Garnett 
ADVANTAGE: Kevin Garnett (Celtics)
-Sitting at 15-17 at the All-Star break, Doc Rivers made the move to start Garnett at center instead of his normal power forward position. As a result, Garnett and the Celtics finished the season strong and he currently averages 19.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game this postseason. Turiaf would get the start and Joel Anthony gets more minutes, but I do not think either can slow down KG.

BENCH: Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
-Let me preface this by saying that the bench battle in this series may not be pretty, but Miami should have the advantage here especially when Chris Bosh is able to come back and reclaim his starting role. Avery Bradley’s season-ending injury hurts Boston’s bench because there is no scoring punch since Ray Allen starts in place of Bradley. Mickael Pietrus leads the Celtic bench with 3.7 points per game this postseason—a stat that must improve.

PREDICTION: Heat in 6.

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