Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NBA Eastern Conference Finals Preview

     In the Eastern Conference, the competition has been a little more fierce, but has given fans a great amount of excitement for the conference finals. The Boston Celtics were taken by the Philadelphia 76ers to seven games, but ultimately Rajon Rondo and company secured the victory at home. For the Miami Heat, All Star forward Chris Bosh was sidelined for an indefinite amount of time in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers when he suffered an abdominal strain. He has been unavailable since, but it was not much of a problem for the Heat to finish off the Pacers. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade faced an uphill battle when Indiana took the series lead 2-1, but the two superstars took control and led the Heat to three straight victories to earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Let's see how the two teams face up against each other...

#2 Miami Heat vs. #5 Boston Celtics

Overview: This is a match plenty of die hard NBA fans crave for. Boston's "Big 3" is in the middle of its last playoff run, as they face a widely despised Heat team. Health is a concern for both teams, because key players including Chris Bosh and Celtics combo guard Avery Bradley are injured. They are both coming off tough, physical series, but I believe the veteran presence of the Celtics will be able to compete with the younger, flashier Heat.

Can All Star point guard Rajon Rondo lead the Celtics to the
Finals once again? He is arguably their key to victory.
Boston's advantage: Rajon Rondo. Nobody on the Heat, besides LeBron James, can cover Rondo. His passing skills are so articulate that he is arguably the best in the game. He has been incredible during this year's playoffs, amassing three triple-doubles. He fills the stat sheet every night, and can flat out play. He has to be less hesitant to take shots against the Heat, and play like he did in the fourth quarter of Game 7 against the 76ers in every game versus the Heat if the Celtics want to reach the Finals again.

Miami's advantage: Transition game. This is one of the Heat's strongest areas, and they will look to exploit the older, ailing Celtics in transition offense. LeBron James is such a great threat in transition because he can finish but also pass the ball exceptionally well. If he and Dwyane Wade can push the ball, create havoc, and find teammates open behind the three-point line, the Heat will be on a trip to the NBA Finals for a second straight year.

Chalmers has to be able to facilitate, shoot, and cover
Rajon Rondo well if the Heat want to return to the Finals
after last year's fall to the Dallas Mavericks.
X-Factor: Mario Chalmers. He is an important part of the Heat who is criticized, yet appreciated. The former Kansas Jayhawk fell out of some favor when rookie Norris Cole shined for the Heat early in the season. Chalmers has regained his confidence however, and is playing solid for Miami. He's averaging 11 points per game during the playoffs, to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and nearly one steal. His main task will be to guard Rajon Rondo. He has to play physical and scrappy to shut him down. Chalmers also has to be a knockdown shooter. James and Wade will create, but Chalmers is one of several shooters on the Heat that has to take advantage of open shots.

Prediction: Heat over Celtics, 4-2.

To the readers, I'm sorry this article is slightly delayed. I have been busy with a lot of work because school is finishing up, but I hope you've enjoyed this entry!

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