(Prediction: Miami in 6 games)
Well here we are at the Eastern Conference Finals, and there is one team that figured to be here and the other not so sure they would be here. But both have played their way into these Finals, and it should be a tough physical battle between Miami and Boston.
Boston has made it here through Kevin Garnett playing up a level as the playoffs started and Rajon Rondo continuing to show that he can be part of the “Big Three.” In fact, this Celtic team will be his in just another year or so, if the team isn’t truly about him already.
Boston won their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks 4-2 with some good performances at home. The two losses actually came at Atlanta, so if that whole series was played there, maybe the Celtics aren’t sitting here.
The Celtics did have a tougher team with Philadelphia as that series went the full gamut of seven games and each game had it’s own twists and turns. I kept waiting for Boston to turn it on and put away the Sixers. They actually had a couple of chances. Game two they lost by a point and probably should have been able to put away the Sixers then. They also lost some big leads along the way, and some say the series should have been over in five games.
But this one goes to seven games and now the Celtics will have to play tonight with only a day off after that second round. It should be interesting to see how they come out and play. Will their legs be done before the end or can they use the momentum of a game seven win and steal this first game of the Eastern Conference Finals?
The Heat had a relatively easy time with the New York Knicks, who were only able to take one game in the seven games series. Most of the performances there showed that this Heat team was ready for something more than a first round victory.
But then came the Indiana Pacers, who brought some fight to the Heat as shown in some of the games. They were hard fouls, flagrant fouls, chippiness, and just some intensity to this series that the Heat looked like they weren’t ready for. Then they lose Chris Bosh, which looked to be a bigger loss than anticipated.
Dwayne Wade has that horrible game three and the Pacers were up 2-1 and felt like all the momentum was on their side. But Wade came around and averaged over 30 points the next three wins for the Heat, and even got 41 points in the series clincher.
Lebron James did what he wanted to do most of the series against the Pacers, and they moved on in six games against the Pacers. Can they bring some fight to the Celtics in this one? Can Wade and James continue their steam rolling as they’ve been doing?
This series should be one to watch as the Celtics actually won the season series 3-1 with a couple of those wins by double figures. Can the Heat stop Rajon Rondo who seems to give them problems? Can the Celtics slow down Lebron and Wade from getting into the lane and making shots that don’t look like they should go in? I think the Heat will do what they keep doing and that’s letting Lebron and Wade score at will. If the Celtics can’t figure out how to slow down those guys, this one might be over quick. I’m going to pick the Heat to win in six games and move on to the NBA Finals for the second straight year.