Monday, May 28, 2012

Celtics vs Heat, the Bosh X Factor

Of the four teams left in the hunt for the NBA title, by far the worst is the Boston Celtics who, tonight, open the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat in Miami.

The Celtics' main problem is age. Three of their big stars are old. As the Celts run up and down the court, those who have courtside seats can probably hear the creaking bones of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The only key Boston player young and spry enough to keep up with the Heat is point guard Rajon Rondo, who's capable of triple doubles. Late in Saturday's close game 7, after Paul Pierce fouled out, Rondo took over and guided the Celts to victory.

The X factor in the Finals is Heat big man Chris Bosh, who's been out since game 2 of the Eastern semis with an abdominal strain. He could miss the Celt series too, leaving the Heat, once again, with an inferior inside game. Backup center Dexter Pittman, serving a three-game suspension for a flagrant foul, will miss the first two games of this series. The Heat's Udonis Haslim isn't talented enough to rule the interior, leaving it open to the Celts' crafty Garnett. But age may slow Garnett.  A few years ago the Celts featured a dominant inside game with Kendrick Perkins and Glen (Big Baby) Davis. But those giants are long gone. The Celts, though, have gotten a boost from big Brandon Bass, who really has to step up if the Celts are going to seriously challenge Miami.

The Heat might just blow out Boston based on the brilliant play of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who've carried the team to victories over Atlanta and Indiana. Without Bosh, the weight of the team is squarely on their shoulders.

Squeaking by Atlanta and Philadelphia, the Celts haven't looked like a powerhouse. Losing guard Avery Bradley recently for the rest of the season with a bum shoulder has been a bummer, forcing aging Ray Allen into the starting lineup, where he hasn't flourished. Bradley might have put the brakes on the James-Wade express. Without Bradley, though, the Heat he-men just might run wild.

In tonight's game the Heat is favored by 8. They should be favored in every game, even the ones in Boston. If you're betting this game, take the Heat. A word of caution though, With Bosh out and unpredictable Rondo, who could turn into Superman, on the court, who knows what could happen. Some of these games might be close. Miami should win the series but don't be surprised if the Celts push the Heat to the limit.