15-14 after hitting with Boston but losing with San Antonio, I like Miami at -8. Miami has been up and down, but they've been solid at home, at 4-1. Boston has been solid at home, but this team is just 2-4 on the road. Boston struggles against teams that take care of the ball, since they struggle in the half court because of poor outside shooting. James should be able to limit Pierce, so if Garnett doesn't need to be doubled, Boston should struggle in the half court. Boston's turnovers against a young Philly team enabled them to push the pace, but they are still a poor rebounding team. Bosh being out hurt Miami against Indiana since they couldn't bring Hibbert away from the rim, but Boston has no shot blocker. While both teams motivated, Miami statement.
How do you account for Boston's excellent defense. That not only did Boston post a 3-1 record agains the Heat, two of the wins, were truly very contested by Miami, but they were out defended. In the last few games of the Pacer series, Lebron and Wade were both shooting 60%. However, most of these shots were layups, due to foul problems with West and Hibbert. Plus, just due to their inexperience of rotating to send help, and no shots in the paint.
Coach Vogel was a Doc Rivers disciple, and his defensive game plan tried to mimic that of Boston's against Miami. Ferocious on ball defense, and everyone is stringing the ball, or following it, sending a tremendous amount of hel defense into lane. Boston's game plan will be to force Lebron and Wade to consistently 20 foot jumpers, and take away all transitional offense which Miami thrives upon. Forcing Miami into a competition of half court execution, which Boston believes over the length of the game, at that style, they can win. Words of caution. Do not forget that until Rondo severely damaged his arm in the playoffs last year, with a very questionable hard foul by Wade, the series was 1-1 swinging in Boston's favor. But even with a one armed Rondo, and without him, the final game scores, still cam down to a couple possessions. Be careful ith giving too many points with Miami....Boston is a defensive sleeping giant....
While, regular season isn't a great indicator in a year like this, and James and Wade did not even play in most of those games. Last year the Bulls and Celtics dominated the Heat in the regular season and won a combined 2 playoff games. Miami also went up 2-0 on Boston, it was never 1-1, and Miami won every game at home by 9 points or more, so the games did not come down to final possessions As for the Indiana series, Indiana was a good rebounding team with shot blockers, Boston is a horrific rebounding team with a power forward playing center. Wade also matches up very well with Allen, who couldn't guard any of the sixers, Bradley would have guarded Wade. If Miami stops Boston in the half court and controls the boards they should get plenty of easy hoops. Last years Boston team was also much better than this year - they had a healthy Pierce and Allen, Green gave them double digits, Jermain O'Neal was a good rebounder, this year they have 1 bench player who can score - Pietrus - and he's old. Allen hasn't even given this team 10 points on the road in most games. Miami doesn't have Bosh, but Miller is healthy, Battier is playng well, and Chalmers is better. Bosh's real value is when they are playing teams with good shot blockers as well, since he's a bad defender.
If you go back to the tapes of last year, within 2 minutes, all of those games were within a possession. Boston had the final shot in game 2 if I remember correctly, it was a shot from left wing by Pierce in Boston. My point is all of those games were very competitive down to free throws. As far as the better Boston team, this yearsteam is far better than last years. They actually have center who is a 20/10 player again, whether he Is a power forward or not. You have no center in the league who can guard him, because they can't come out and guard Garnett at 15 feet, or he goes around them, or it opens up the middle for Bass. When they don't guard him, he is shooting 51% from 15 to 18 feet in the playoffs, pick your poison. Miami has no bench to speak of either. Look at positional match ups. At he 1 guard, huge advantage Boston, as he can score a will, defend anyone, and control tempo of the game. Also if Miami ends up with Wade guarding Rondo, which has been a match up in the past, Wade is a 2 guard, not a point guard, and historically struggles guarding quicker guards.
At the two guard, advantage Miami with Wade, and one of the best players in the NBA, a great scorer, but as I said, only disadvantage, if he has to guard Rondo. We will see him try to drag him to the floor again, lol...just kidding...The small forward position advantage Boston with Bass, over Battier. Brandon will give the Celtics more inside/outside presence, and will called upon to take big shots. He is Boston's best free throw shooter at 43 of 45 in the playoffs. In 2 of the last three games, Philadelphia decided it would leave Brandon opened as they doubled Pierce every possession and KG. He did make them pay. 28 points and 17 points, in games 5 and 7. Power forward, advantage Miami. The King, need I say more. The best player in the NBA. Although it will be a far better match up, than Indiana, because Bston as a professional scorer, an assassin also in Paul Pierce. The only player in Celtic green that can create his on shot, besides Rondo. Scores 20 ppg, and is Celtc 2nd all time leading scorer. No slouch. Also always defends the best power forwards in the game. But advantage, Miami. Center, advantage Boston. Whether he is 6-10 Power forward or a center, he is still a 20/10 player, and with no Bosh creates problems for Miami.
Offensive production, advantage Wade and James, they will get theirs. X factor for Mami...Mario Chalmers, what production can he give, and can Wade and James continue to score 70 a night. They will need to. Who will score after that. Battler?Haslem? Boston's offensive X factor..Brandon Bass, he will be the player left open on double down rotations to Pierce, and I expect Miami to double KG. Why wouldn't you get the ball out of his hands. Boston is a team offensive system, that depends on their execution, and believes in a half court game, late, they can and will out execute you. Defensive schemes...advantage Boston, while they are the worst offensive rebounding team, this is by design, to be one o the best at transitional defense, and the best defensive team left in the playoffs, and the league.
Series advantage...Miami..BUT it should be a great series. Most dangerous game for Bost, ame 1, coming off a grinding series, but no one in the league grinds better than Boston. One last note, the mid games will come down to if Hollins and Stiesma can defend the pick and roll when Kag not on floor. KG is one of best pick and roll defenders in league, and IF they don't lose ground their, tha would be huge. During game, if Boston can force Miami t it's second and third offensive actio, after the pick and roll, it would be a victory every series, whether scor or not. Law of averages, take Miami shooting jumpers than attacking rim anyday
Last, my response wasn't to talk anyone off taking Miami, or Brkatz poin of view. Actually between Brkatz and myself, you just got two thorough points of view. My point was Boston is better than people think, and especially this team. Thats why they get to play a great team in Miami. Be careful giving too many points if taking Miami.....nice points Brkatz, I'm sure will see another counterpoint, ...nice write up...
I see Miami in 5 at most. Lebron will cover Pierce so they won't double him. Also, again, Miami beat Boston by double digit in every game but one they won by 9 . How can you argue this years team is better, they don't have Perkins or Green, and Allen is nowhere near 100% - Bass is the only addition. Even without Bosh, who had a horrible series and struggles against Garnett, Miami has added good role players and Miller is 100%.
Wait miller is 100 percent...? Not even close if you watched the pacers series they guy couldn't get up and down the floor.. Is 75 percent at best.
Last year has n impact on this year, but my point was be careful with just looking at final scores. There was a lot that went into those plot lines, and in 3 out of 5 of those games, Boston was leading at the 2.40 second mark. A couple possessions go differently, and the whol dynamics of the series change. Game 1, Boston down by 8 with 7.00 to play, never got closer. Game 2, game all tied a 80, with 6.00 to play, Mami pulls away with run. The pivotal Game 3...Boston wins handily, but pays heavy price to star point guard on a very flagrant play. Was Wade beat off the dribble.Yes. Did he mean to throw Rondo down and for it too hurt. Absolutely. Did he mean to hurt him gor rest of series. No, but he did. Game 4, Rondo plays one arm, Pierce takes last second shot to win game. Misses off front of iron, Boston losses in overtime. Game 5..2.45 left in game, Boston leads, Miami goes on run, nails some free throws with some three, game, set, match. Would Boston Hav fared better in that last 2.45 with a healthy Rondo, could they have won that overtime game with a guard that could have played with to arms, and was pretty much done by o.t. In pain...The beauty of great teams......Now we get the answer to those questions this year. That was my point about plot lines, not represented in the final score.
Boston is absolutely a better team than las year. Injury to Avery Bradley hurt a lot, losin the best on ball defender in the league. Perkins was long gone by playoff time to OKC in the worst trade imaginable. Jeff Green du not have time to find his role or place b the playoffs, and averaged 7 ppg in Miami series.
Ray Allen with the one spurs hurts. But he still has the capability to spread the floor, and hit a big shot, as he hit two yesterday. And you still must guard him. Brandon Bass was the steal of the year, and an underutilized small forward in Orlando, was put in a system with Hall of fame players. That small reserve forward, has turned into a beast. Rondo is having his best year ever, but this team is peaking at the right moment. Your getting far mire production from KG, who has revitalized his career a center. His numbers speak for themselves. Pierce is still an assassin, at 20 ppg. I think it's going to be a great series.
But now we get the answer to the questions from last year. If that cheap shot doesn't happen, and Rondo isn't severely injured, how does the series change with a healthy Rondo. Now we get to find out. Remember 3 out of 5 games, Boston leading at 2.45 mark. Rondo hurt for all 3 of this games, doesn't play in one of them, very limited in game 4. Would he have changed the outcome of the games, or the series. The player Boston depends on the most was hurt.......All of those questions will be answered...Should be fun.....Be careful with big lines, and no matter how short unders look, sports book knowing recreational better will want to take over. Better odds with under would be my play. At some point in this series, defense will be the tone, and the longer series progresses, better chance for unders. If goes to game 6 or 7, under will be play. This series goes 7. Good luck with all bets...
Rondo was healthy in game 1 and 2, and Boston got killed. Miami, San Antonio, 4th quarter teams, a lot of teams stay close and then get blownout fourth. Bulls were ahead at home in every game going into the fourth and lost all but one be nearly double digits. Boston has no bench, so its likely they will be limited in the fourth as well. Garnett's numbers are a sign of how bad centers in the east are, not his strength, Brand was horrible, and Atlanta's center's not much better. Pierce is Boston's only legit player who can create his own shot- but he'll be covered by Lebron.
gl brkatz like the heat also
miller def not anywhere near 100% he lays on the sidelines in pain and winces every play