As New York City once again removes the Knicks from their collective minds, (this time maybe a week or two earlier than anticipated) the Boston faithful are perched and ready for another shot at the title. As crazy as that may have sounded towards the end of the regular season, it’s a fair statement now. Like it or not. What cracks me up, (and I mentioned this in our recent podcast) is that most people assume the Heat have a Championship run in them with their “Big 3” but how soon we forget the Celtics still have a “Big 4”. Kendrick Perkins may be gone but the Celtics still have a lot of pride and they do not want to be taken lightly.
Also mentioned in the podcast by Brett was that Rondo’s assists were coming easier to him with Pierce and Allen’s amazing shooting. I agree with this to an extent but I also credit Rondo with delivering the ball at the right time and to the right person. We all know Rondo’s jumper is still suspect but he generally displays the awareness to realise once he misses a couple and immediately sets about working his way into the game in other ways. This trait alone is something OKC’s Russell Westbrook should take note of.
I’ve been pretty hard on these Celtics ever since Paul Pierce pulled the infamous “wheelchair incident” in the 2008 Finals. I still think that has to be one of the weakest moments in American sports. Especially weak seeing as Pierce had preciously survived a stabbing, but now I’m rambling.
Whether it was the overrating of the Knicks, (guilty) or the underrating of the Celtics, (also guilty) a lot of people had their first round match-up going six or seven games. What transpired was a buzzsaw-like performance by Boston that will surely have had some small mental effect on the Miami Heat, who are still fighting off the pesky Philadelphia Sixers.
Assuming of course that the Heat will advance, the Celtics will be facing a lineup so different to New York in every way that it’s hard to truly predict an outcome. Instead of focusing purely on two dominant players at the three and four spots, Boston will be looking to contain a two, three and four who all arguably have more talent than their Knick counterparts. Add to that the fact Dwyane Wade and LeBron James practically have the Basketball equivalent of “the Force” on their side and naturally I start to wonder if the Celtics can do it.
But in the end that’s what they want you to think. The old, grey-bearded “Soul Celtics” against the young “Milan Inspired” Miami Heat for the right to play off for the East’s crown. I touched on Miami’s inconsistencies yesterday and how they were affecting the Heat against Philly. I’m telling you now, those same lapses won’t put them behind by 8-10 like in their current series if they re-produce them against the Celtics. That deficit will end up more like 15-20 and I’m not sure the Heat have the minerals to dig their way out of that kind of hole, especially if they keep doing it over a seven game series.
The formula for Boston is simple. Pierce and Allen are to get as many open shots as possible, everyone else rebound and screen, while Rondo does EVERYTHING else imaginable.
Sounds too simple to work right? Well the Celtics, unlike every other team at this stage only need 12 more wins to bring home #18.
It has to be worth a try.