For the past month, ESPN.com has been running a terrific feature, pulling together a panel of five writers to pick up apart the finer points of the NBA Playoff picture. Today, Celtics-Heat is the topic of the hour and our own Hayes Davenport represented CelticsHub in the Q and A, along with Chris Forsberg and three members of the Heat Index. Here’s a sample of Hayes’ responses. You can check out the full piece by clicking here.
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: My homerism glands are forcing me to chalk up the fourth game to the Celtics’ late-season apathy, but the takeaway from the first three is probably that the Heat are not looking forward to this matchup. The Celtics have an unnatural ability to force below-average performances out of the Heat stars, and that’s obviously the key to beating Miami.
2. Which player will you be watching most closely in the series?
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: Rondo is the puppeteer of the Celtics’ offense, but this series will be decided on the other end, so I’ll be watching Kevin Garnett on defense. He’s going to try to be everywhere at once, and he actually can do that. But the motivated Heat are probably his greatest defensive challenge yet.
3. What’s the potential fatal flaw for each team?
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: Miami’s fatal flaw is the belief among its star players that they’re really awesome at shooting from distance. Boston wants them to think this and plans to make them prove it.
Boston’s flaw, meanwhile, is its bench. With either James or Wade on the court at any time, the Heat have a chance to make runs against the Boston reserves.
4. What’s the potential fatal strength for each team?
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: Boston’s strength against everyone they face, but especially Miami, is team defense. The Heat have several players who require multiple defenders to stop them, but sending a second defender to help is central to the Celtics’ defensive scheme.
Miami’s strength, of course, is that the best player in the league is on its side, and his best teammate isn’t Mo Williams anymore.
5. Celtics-Heat: Who wins?
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: Boston in seven.
I think Miami is a better team than Boston. If the Heat get through this round, they have a better shot at beating the Chicago Bulls and the Western Conference champ than Boston does. But I also think the Celtics are the one team that can stop the Heat.
Stay glued to CelticsHub later today and tomorrow for a full series breakdown and predictions from the entire CelticsHub crew.