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Celtics at Heat
Pat: In what many are viewing as the swan song of the Boston big three, the Celtics are in position to make one last push to the Finals. The Celtics are far from healthy but they are catching a break with Chris Bosh looking doubtful for the series. That injury should free up Kevin Garnett to do whatever he wants on the offensive end as Turaif/Anthony can’t guard KG outside of the paint. Miami has had issues containing Rajon Rondo, who may not be considered part of the big three but is actually the Celtics best player. The Celtics chances to win this series will go as Rondo goes, so he will need to have several great, non-chest-bumping refs performances. Wade and James’ torrid pace can’t continue for every game and Boston needs to be ready to capitalize any time either of those two goes cold. Boston won 3 out of 4 versus Miami this year and can enter this series with the mindset that they have the upper hand in experience and have also had their way with the Heat this year.
Matt: Boston might have an advantage at 3 of the 5 positions with Rajon Rondo at PG and Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett inside. While the Heat’s advantage at SG and SF is massive, they still will want to counter this, and the answer will likely involve going small. LeBron James could absolutely guard Bass and Garnett and the reverse is not true. When Miami goes small with LeBron at the 4 this will force one of the Celtics’ big men—their advantage—off the floor, and bring on one of Miami’s sneaky good role player SF or SG such as Jones. Sending the Bass-Anthony matchup off the court in exchange for something like Dooling-Jones is a huge advantage for Miami before even considering that LeBron is now closer to the rim posting up whoever is trying to guard him. Going small will also open up the Miami transition game against a Boston team that isn’t very good at rebounding.