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Now we have what we want: Miami vs. Boston

Apr 28, 2011, 2:42 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Give the people what they want.

And this is the series nearly everyone wanted.

Old school big three vs. new school big three. LeBron James against the Celtics again — but this time he has new friends with him for backup. Tradition rich New England vs. modern and stylish Miami.

Celtics vs. Heat.

A seven-game series nearly as anticipated as the NBA finals (certainly by television executives, at least). This series felt destined from the moment these two teams faced off on opening day. The Heat’s path to legitimacy has always seemed to run through Boston.

Now is when we find out if Miami can live up to the hype. Or if Boston’s veterans and defense are still too tough. We find out if the Celtics can execute at the end of games better than Miami, or if the ridiculous athleticism of the Heat will prove to be too much.

It’s a series of fun matchups — Chris Boshvs. Kevin Garnett, Paul Piercevs. LeBron, Dwyane Wadeand Ray Allen, Joel Anthonyvs. Big Baby… OK, not so much the last one. But across the board the matchups are fascinating.

This is a series that is going to be about defense — two of the top five defenses in the NBA. Boston owns the paint and brings help early, Miami relies on athleticism on the wing to pressure the ball handler, it traps and disrupts. These two teams’ regular-season affairs were largely low-scoring, half-court, grind-it-out games that looked like playoff basketball even though the playoffs were a distant dream at the time.

But in a lot of ways this series will be about the Celtics’ ability to exploit their mismatches. Can Rajon Rondo rip up Mike Bibby? Can the Celtics’ bench extend leads? Will Shaquille O’Neal play, and if he does how much does he have to really give?

Usually in the NBA teams have to struggle a little in the playoffs to advance, they need to learn how to win together before a title can be theirs. This Boston team — with its veterans when they got together — was the exception to the rule. They won out of the gate (and taught the Lakers hard lessons about winning together, something L.A. clearly took to heart).

It feels like Boston could teach Miami that same lesson. But it will not be simple. Wade has learned that lesson — he has a ring, too — and will steady the ship. LeBron is hungry and is still the best player in the game. Bosh is just happy to be out of the first round, so he doesn’t fit with the others. But you get the idea.

This is what basketball is about. A clash of athleticism and style, a battle of systems and guys who just destroy defensive systems with their skill.

This is what we’ve all been waiting for. We got what we wanted, which means the winner of this series is the fans.

  1. goforthanddie - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:58 AM

    The one time of the year I get to say GO CELTICS!

  2. davidly - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    Spenser, Hawk, and Quirk versus Crockett, Tubbs, and Castillo.

  3. hnirobert3 - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Chalmers’ turnovers scare me, but I’d much rather have him in there against Rondo than Bibby’s corpse.

    • andyhr17 - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM

      I would love to see Bibby on the floor for big minutes….but then again, we have different rooting interests.

    • thestudiokida - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      I thought Chalmers earned the starting spot all year but Coach Spo preferred Bibby’s lack of defense and mediocre shooting in Round 1. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t start Chalmers in this series.

  4. florida727 - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    Excellent write-up Kurt. Wonder if home court will mean anything in this match-up? This will be great to watch. As a Bulls fan, assuming they can advance against either ATL or ORL, I’m hoping these two teams beat the living crap out of each other :)

  5. youngp82 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    I like 2 c miami get knocked again

  6. rc33 - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    CAN Rajon Rondo rip up Mike Bibby?

  7. delfi2 - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Boston big three<Miami Big Three

    All day baby!!

    Heat in 6 (4-2)…how u like 'em apples?

    • goforthanddie - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      And who does Miami have after the Threego? Oh yeah, I forgot, they can’t even field a decent starting 5.

  8. andyhr17 - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Yes, most championship caliber teams run through the playoffs with no true starting center and no established guard. Blueprint for at least seven championships right there.

    • jrmcool20 - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      lol good post ,, its what i been saying ,, miamis bench cannot compare to the celtics beanch NO WAY ,,, with or without shaq the celts in the long run r to much for the heat ,,heat got 2 super stars and 1 real good player ,,bosh,, and really there bench is weak when u compare it to bostons ,, also shaq is playing sundays game read it on espn just 15 mins ago,,now that makes bostons bench even better ,, bench,, j oneal.. g davis, j green, d west, v wafer, t murphy , c arroyo ,, then if needed, a bradley,, and s pavlovic ,, !!! theres NO WAY miami competes with a bench like that no way !! the heat will play the Cs very hard and well but heat need another year or 2 to be the elite team they want to be also they need a new coach for sure !!! celtics will win series in 6 gms!!! sorry heat fans!!!

  9. frankvzappa - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    you say it is a seven game series, as if the celtics arent going to win easily in four

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