We only have 6 games left to play, but taking a look at the standings shows that we still have no idea who we could be playing in the first round.
Right now we are a game ahead of the Magic for the 2nd seed but that could change with KG out for the next few games (at least). Philly is just a half game ahead of Miami for the 5th seed and Chicago is only a half game behind the Pistons for the 7 seed. So realistically the C's could play one of 4 different teams.
I like our chances to beat any one of them, even if we don't have a full roster. With that said, there are always matchups that are more or less favorable. Every one of these teams has pros (reasons why I'm confident playing against them) and cons (reasons that give me cause for concern).
I'm going to break them each down with posts this week. We'll start with the Miami Heat.
Pros: The Heat are still a team in transition. They started off the year with an unhappy Shawn Marion and moved him for Jermaine O'Neal (who has struggled with injures for the last few years). They are a very young team with a rookie point guard and several young rotation guys. Michael Beasley has a lot of potential but he's been up and down all year.
Cons: In a word, Wade. Of all the potential teams we could play in the first round, there's only one team that boasts a star that could win several games all by himself. Quite simply, the man does it all. Also, it is possible that the Heat's youth could be a benefit to them. The C's had issues with a young Hawks team last year and sometimes young teams don't know enough to feel the pressure of the playoffs.
Matchup Highlights: You simply don't guard Wade one-on-one, so the Wade vs. Ray matchup is not really fair. You have to throw everything you've got at him and hope his teammates aren't making shots. Which is problematic when they have a shooter like Cook. On the other hand, who's going to stop Pierce on thier team? If they double him, Pierce has more shooters that can hit open shots (Ray, House, KG).
One matchup to keep an eye on might be the Rondo vs. Chalmers pairing. The two got into a verbal back and forth near the end of the last game and Super Mario hit some big shots down the stretch (in a losing cause).
Conclusion: It would take a tremendous letdown by the Celtics to lose 4 games to this team, but I could see Wade stealing 2 or 3 games with just a little help from his team.