The Boston Celtics are old and hurt.
This is their Big 3′s last stand.
The Miami Heat are going to the close the final chapter on the Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce era of the Celtics, but the truth is, they should put them away.
Miami has the game’s best player – three-time MVP LeBron James – and Dwyane Wade has reemerged. The two are working in unison and everyone else is falling in line.
Just don’t see how those aging and aching Celtics get past them.
Boston struggled with the Atlanta Hawks, but won. Got pushed to a Game 7 by the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, but won.
Now the Celtics got Miami.
They shouldn’t win, should they?
(4) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Miami Heat
Game 1: Monday, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
How they got here: Celtics def. (5) Atlanta, 4-2 in first round; def. (8) Philadelphia 4-3, in conference semifinals; Miami def. (7) New York, 4-1 in first round, def. (3) Indiana 4-2 in conference semifinals.
How they REALLY got here: The Celtics needed seven games to get past the 76ers, who although talented are young, inexperienced and couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean. In Game 7, Philadelphia shot 35 percent from the field in an 85-75 loss to the Celtics. To put it in perspective, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James scored a combined 70 points for the Heat in a Game 4 win against Indiana. The two were dominant in leading the Heat past the Pacers. Without Chris Bosh (abdominal), the Heat won the last three games of the series and in those wins, James and Wade averaged a combined 65.6 points.
Biggest concern for the Celtics: James and Wade. It’s pretty simple. With Bosh out, James and Wade are getting more touches, more shot attempts and more involved in the offense. Wade is coming off a 41-point performance in Game 6 and James has been in a great flow. Can’t let them get to the rim because that will lead to James and Wade going to the free throw line. If the Celtics are unable to slow them down, like Mary J. Blige, it’s a wrap, early
Biggest concern for Heat: Celtics defense and Rajon Rondo: To stop James and Wade, the Celtics will crowd the paint and force Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Mike Miller and those guys make outside shots. If they aren’t hitting, the Celtics have a shot. If Boston has one clear-cut advantage, it’s with Rondo, who will torch any Miami PG it puts on him. If the Heat feel compelled to put James on Rondo, that will throw their defense out of sorts and expose them in other areas.
Series prediction: Heat in 6. People talk about Celtic Pride. As much as I hate to say it, the saying does hold water. Boston plays with that aura and it elevates the team’s play. However, James and Wade are not only playing well, they are playing well together. That’s scary. What people envisioned when James joined the Heat before last season is starting come to fruition. The Celtics will play them tough. Their Big 3 – Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce – will give Miami a great run, but when push comes to shove, Boston has no one who can stop James or Wade. Those two are on a mission.