Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The key to the NBA Finals: How the Celtics can beat the Heat

By Taylor C. Snow

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The key to the series is Chris Bosh. Yes, the so-called “third wheel” of Miami’s Big Three; the power forward whose above average play goes nearly unnoticed in comparison to that of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Bosh, who sustained a  abdominal strain in game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers, may not be the biggest threat on the court to the Celtics, but his injury may be the difference in the series.

If Bosh is absent or playing hurt, that gives Boston the opportunity to exert more effort to stopping James and Wade – the two forces that stand in between the Celtics and a trip to the NBA Championship.

The Heat and their fast-pace approach could easily wipe out an aging team, regardless of how good its defense is. Sure, Boston won three out of four games against Miami in the regular season, but having to play one of the most physical teams, potentially seven games in a row – just after finishing a seven game series against a physical Philadelphia team – will run the Celtics down; especially with the injuries that several Boston players have endured recently.

Injuries such as the dislocated shoulder of Avery Bradley are huge. Without the stellar defense that the young guard brings to the Celtics, guarding Wade will be extremely difficult. This means that James will have to be taken care of because if both of the Heat superstars are given the opportunity to play at their full potential, they will defeat the Celtics easily. That being said, the more they can focus on James, the more of a chance they will have.

This is where the absence of Bosh comes in. Without Bosh, Boston will be able to double-team James and most likely hinder his performance. Paul Pierce has been James’ kryptonite in big games in the past, and if he is able to get some assistance from  the defensive wall that Kevin Garnett has been portraying in the 2012 playoffs, then James will have great difficulty.

Garnett and Bass have next to nothing to worry about if the big men of the Heat are going to consist of some combination of Joel Anthony, Ronny Turiaf and Udonis Haslem. Garnett would have a field day guarding any of these guys, so his focus should be to guard the post staunchly when James and Wade drive to the basket.

The Heat currently list Bosh as “out indefinitely”, but he did go through practice drills with the team yesterday, which means he will most likely not be out long. He will probably miss tonight and, at most, the second game, but by the time the teams get to Boston, expect him to be back on the court, full strength or not.

This makes the first two games in Miami ever so important. If the Celtics can start out with an edge – even winning one out of two in South Beach – it will be an immense step towards the final round.

One more thing that Boston has in its advantage is its urgency to win. Let’s face it, this is probably the last chance the Celtic Big Three have to win a championship together. They are near retirement, while James and Wade are right in their prime. The Heat will have plenty of chances to win a championship in the near future, and they probably will, but that may not be the case for Boston.

Regardless of if Bosh plays no games or all seven games, the Celtics are beating right now as a united heart, and you can bet that they will go into this series with a completely relentless mindset.

South Beach may have the better talent, but a team of determined gritty bodies is something to be feared.

Taylor Snow can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at MDC_Snow.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The key to the NBA Finals: How the Celtics can beat the Heat”

  1. Adam on May 28th, 2012 10:40 am

    Nice job T-Sizzle! If Bosh isn’t active, though, doesn’t Miami still have an advantage with LeBron at the 4?

  2. Taylor on May 28th, 2012 11:08 am

    They will, but his absence is still huge. I think Miami still has the advantage without Bosh, but Boston at least has a much better chance with him gone. Pierce and/or Garnett will always be on LeBron regardless.

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