If beating Atlanta was a grind, knocking off the 76ers was about as fun as getting a root canal. And now our Boston Celtics have their eyes fixed on South Beach, where LeBron James and the Miami Heat await. We all know what happened last year. The C’s were eliminated 4-1 by the Heat in the opening round of the playoffs. The first two games were in Miami, with Boston losing by 9 and 11 points, respectively. And now here we are again, like a middle-aged rec player at the local YMCA, another year older and a lot thinner on top, trying to show the young studs that the old man’s still got it.
Consider it the supreme challenge.
Fully expect our Celtics to be up to it.
The player who certainly commands the most attention is James, the Baddest Man on Planet Basketball. James is the MVP. Again. He’s playing his best ball of the season right now. The Heat were forged into a stronger team in the Pacers series, with James and D-Wade stepping up to compensate for the loss of Chris Bosh. That it took a player-coach sideline tiff in front of the cameras in order to fully engage Wade is beside the point – or at least a topic for another discuss altogether. The fact of the matter is that the Heat look like they’re peaking at the right time, and that they’re stronger because they stood up to the Pacers’ rough play and exposed them as fake tough.
And now, our Celtics have to deal with a team that is mentally stronger than they were at the start of the playoffs. The Heat are fresh. Rested. Confident. And talented. Supremely so.
But guess what?
Our Celtics are a different team, too. They might be short-handed but the players that remain trust one another implicitly. They might be tired, but they’ve been grinding all season long. They only have one superstar in his prime, but something tells me that Rajon Rondo is motivated to even the score against the Heat in general and Wade specifically; it was Wade, remember who wrestled Rondo to the ground and in the process dislocated his elbow.
To say that neither Ray Allen nor Paul Pierce played particularly well in the Sixers series is an understatement. Both have a lot to prove. Allen doesn’t want a pass because he’s hurt; he wants to play stellar basketball every time he steps on the court. Pierce has a ton of pride, and wants to make up for his stinker Game 7 with a lockdown performance on James.
And then there’s Kevin Garnett. The fire still burns, even if the skills are diminished. And if Chris Bosh is unable to play in the first two games, Garnett gives the Celtics a legit advantage at the center position.
So go ahead, Heat, feel confident about your chances of dispatching our C’s. You’re about to find out that this Celtics team is for real, because this team isn’t the Pacers. The Boston Celtics aren’t fake tough.
These Boston Celtics are the real deal.