We’re two men down and a bit late getting it up, but it’s playoff time, so you know, ‘no excuses’ and all that crap (I’ve always found this notion to be a bit ridiculous; if you’re hurt you’re hurt, and depending on the player it can absolutely impact the outcome of a game/series – just ask Chicago).
Ash: If the Thunder/Spurs series is an action movie, this one feels like an old Western. One one side you have the veteran mob of gunslingers looking for one last kill to prove their dominance before riding off into the sunset, and the other side are a bunch of hotshots with the fastest guns in Dodge City.
Let’s face it – these Celtics are old and banged up. Their best perimeter defender (Avery Bradley) is gone. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are struggling to move. Rondo remains a mystery wrapped in a riddle in an enigma. They could barely get past a Philly team that were lucky to be there. Boston have reached the Conference Finals by dragging teams down to their level and playing tough, but Miami are too good to get away with that.
This series is going to come down to the Heat, and specifically LeBron’s desire. Make no mistake – if he comes out like he did the last three games of the Pacers series the Celtics don’t have a hope of stopping him. However those performances came after Indiana poked the sleeping beast in the eye and woke him up when they got that 2-1 lead. At the same time – you have to think if he can have one game like his Game 4 effort (one 30-10-10 or 35-10-5 or similar), Wade has a game where he takes it by the scruff of the neck and the duo can combine the way they did in Game 5 and 6 of the Pacers series with enough assistance from backups…it’ll be enough.
Again, I come back to matchups. Boston’s only real offense this series has been KG/Brandon Bass hitting mid range Js and Rondo on the break. But Miami can shut that down as well as anybody. The Celtics, on the other hand, just don’t have enough healthy defenders to throw at Miami. They’re a proud old mob and they’ll play tough but that’s not enough for the old gunslingers. Miami in 5.
JT: Do we even need to debate this one? The Celtics are banged up, they barely beat a flawed Sixers team, and in my opinion, regardless of the injuries, they just aren’t good enough. I said in the second round preview that Miami would crush them in the ECF, and even with Bosh’s injury, I still feel the same way. Yes, I’m a Boston fan, but you can’t ignore the evidence. They’re a proud team and they’ll put up some fight, but they just don’t have it anymore. And this will be (or at least it should be) the Big Three’s swan song. Miami in 5.