A position by position look at the biggest series of the playoffs. Will Boston’s advantage at PG and PF make up for the LeBron factor?
After the trade deadline passed, the Heat went out and signed Mike Bibby to shore up their point guard position. (Insert laughter here.) Everybody is impressed … if it’s 2005. The truth is, today’s Bibby can’t hold a candle to Rajon Rondo — a matchup the Celtics will surely exploit all series, and one that could prove to be the difference.
Nobody had a hotter hand last series than Ray Allen. On top of that, he averaged over 20 ppg versus Miami this year. Dwyane Wade is a better player, but his numbers against the C’s were weak. In four games, Wade averaged 28 percent from the field, 18 percent from ‘3’ and 12.8 points – well below his averages.
LeBron James is widely considered the best player in the NBA. Even if he’s not, he’s surely somewhere in the top 3 or 4. For that reason, Paul Pierce will have his hands full, as he usually does, guarding “The King.” James will put up his usual numbers, but Pierce will make him work for every one of them. The two will battle all series.
Perhaps no two stars at one position have had such an uneven history than Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett. If there’s one player Bosh doesn’t want to see, it’s KG. Now on the Heat, can Bosh finally step up to the challenge and take KG man to man? Doubtful. Garnett should be in full-on Beast Mode come Sunday.
This would have been an easy Boston advantage before the Kendrick Perkins trade, or if we knew Shaquille O’Neal would be suiting up. Neither is the case. Jermaine O’Neal and Glen Davis should be enough to advance the C’s, but that’s far from ideal. Luckily, the Heat use Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.