Offensive Efficiency (2011-12)
Boston: 98.9 points/100 possessions (24th)
Miami: 104.3 points/100 possessions (6th)
Defensive Efficiency (2011-12)
Boston: 95.5 points/100 possessions (2nd)
Miami: 97.1 points/100 possessions (4th)
Probable Miami Starters: Mario Chalmers (PG), Dwayne Wade (SG), Shane Battier (SF), LeBron James (PF), Chris Bosh (C).
View from the Opposing Bench: The Heat Index
THUMBNAIL: You might want to tune in late tonight and skip the Heat getting their championship rings unless you want to see Ray Allen standing awkwardly on the sidelines pretending he wasn’t roadkill on Miami’s road to the title. After that bit of unpleasantness, we should be in for an entertaining war. Boston and Miami have a wonderful old-school hate for each and it has only intensified since Kevin Garnett refused to let Allen post on his Pinterest board over the summer.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: So many things. Here’s a sampling of what I’ll be focused on tonight:
1. Who guards LeBron? Obviously, Pierce will get time on him but we might see Jeff Green and Brandon Bass check him, assuming James spends his time on the perimeter and in the post. Can the combination of the three of them wear him down over 48 minutes?
2. Was Green’s stellar preseason just a mirage? Everything in his history says he’s no better than average but his history is just that. I’m particularly interested in his assertiveness on offense. That $9M contract isn’t going to earn itself.
3. How does Courtney Lee handle Wade? If he wants the starting SG spot for good, he has to hang with him like he’s Avery Bradley.
4. What is Doc Rivers’ crunchtime lineup? Assuming it’s tight down the stretch, does Jason Terry get the call or will Rivers be looking for a stronger defender?
5. How long is the leash on Jared Sullinger? Boston wants this game and for Rivers, that usually means only his most trusted guys get floor time. We could learn something if Sullinger gets any kind of burn in the second half.
6. How many wide-open threes does Allen get as a result of James/Wade penetration? If it’s greater than four, will that finally make him feel appreciated?
7. Does Boston throw more big lineups at Miami than all the talk of small ball would have us believe or do the Celtics try and match Miami greyhound for greyhound?
8. Does Rajon Rondo harass Allen into multiple turnovers? You know he’s just dying to do it.
PREDICTION: Boston’s incorporating new parts and new rotations and Miami should be free and easy coming off a championship. It’ll be tight but I’ll say the Heat take this first contest.
Miami 99 Boston 95