Boston’s First Round Opponent: Who Do You Want?
Posted by Ryan DeGama on Mar 23, 2011
So, let’s have a quick look at possible first round matchups for the Celtics.
At this point, it’s probably going to be one of three teams. Boston could see either Philadelphia, New York or Indiana, depending on how the next three weeks shake out.
The question is: who would you prefer the Celtics draw in round one?
Let’s have a quick look at each, using “analysis”.
- Key Matchups: Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire vs. Kevin Garnett, Mike D’Antoni’s offense vs Boston’s playoff defense.
- Best Case Scenario: Boston’s defense unspools the New York offense until ‘Melo and Amare both try to prove they’re the King of New York by jacking up 20 shots apiece. Celtics cruise in four games.
- Worst Case Scenario: Knicks build chemistry by the playoffs, and ride big city energy to early series lead, forcing Boston to empty the chamber to pull the thing out in 6 or 7 games.
- Entertainment Factor: Off the charts. Two of the best games of the season have been against New York. Paul Pierce has an ongoing anti-romance with the MSG crowd that could blossom into something deliciously hateful in a playoff environment. Bill Walker could make his triumphant return to sitting on the TD Garden bench in his warmup suit, glowing with untapped upside potential. Media members could regale us with endless stories about New York’s basketball renaissance, followed by cutaways to Isiah Thomas cavorting in a luxury box with James Dolan and Dwight Howard’s extended family. Plus, there’s always the possibility of Mikhail Prokhorov buying up all the in-arena MSG signage to advertise Nets season tickets.
- Must-watch halftime segment: Charles Barkley accompanies Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal on their tour of NYC street food vendors.
- Key Matchups: Celtics’ aged legs vs. Sixers’ youthful legs, Sixers’ athletic bigs vs Celtics’ once-athletic bigs.
- Best Case Scenario: Doug Collins’ team proves totally unready for anything more than four quick games of playoff experience. Sixers grab two playoff gates and C’s move quickly onto the next round, all fresh and healthy, like cream cheese slathered on cheese steaks, which incidentally, is the après-victory meal of choice for Davis and Shaq.
- Worst Case Scenario: A redux of the Hawks first round series from 2008. Boston exhausts its not-quite-as-formidable front-line trying to keep up with the Sixer bigs pogo-sticking all over the court. Game seven legitimately in doubt until the Celtics wake the hell up and win by 20.
- Entertainment Factor: Medium. The Sixers beat the Celtics this month and it remains their destiny as a mediocre team to cause fits for Boston, even come the second season. The math goes like this for Boston: mo’ athletic teams + mo’ consistent intensity = mo’ problems. Also, 2002 playoff contributor Tony Battie would be returning to Boston. That could be exciting in a not-really-that-exciting kind of way.
- Must-watch halftime segment: In a tribute to the epic Sixers-Celtics clashes of the early 1980s, Larry Bird and Julius Erving reenact their famous on-court fight until David Stern is forced to suspend Ron Artest for the remainder of the season.
- Key Matchups: Pierce vs. Danny Granger, Pacers fans vs. Jermaine O’Neal (Does this make sense? Are Pacers fans disappointed in O’Neal? I just assume they are…).
- Best Case Scenario: Four quick games.
- Worst Case Scenario: Seven long games.
- Entertainment Factor: Low. The least-sexy of the three possible opponents, most basketball fans would hold out little hope of an upset, rendering this series a formality. However, if Reggie Miller gets tired of pretending to be excited as he throws TNT games to commercial, he could come out of retirement and either join the Celtics’ squad (Ainge: “he’s just so versatile“) or re-up with Indiana and try and wrest the three-point title back from Ray Allen.
- Must-watch halftime segment: Focus on corn fields.
So, as you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing your preferential hypothetical opponent.
Who you got?