Looking at the series opener tonight against the Heat, I just have a few thoughts on what I expect this series to be:
1.) The Celtics are definitely hurting. Ray isn't 100%, Paul is not 100%, Avery is gone, who do we turn to? Well at SG, I would probably put Pietrus in with the starters. He has all the intangibles needed to stop Wade, so we will need a great series out of him. This is where Avery Bradley is sorely missed but Pietrus is definitely capable of limiting Wade's presence. Will he?
2.) I do not expect Lebron and Wade to scorch the scoreboard again with monster points. Boston has a better defense than Indiana did. We will better limit their offense.
3.) Brandon Bass. If he can drop points like he did in Game 5 vs. Philly...that would make things so much easier for the Celtics. With Bosh out indefinitely, I expect to see Brandon Bass play a great series.
4.) Need for Three's. We need to start dropping more 3's. Although Ray Allen is not 100%, he still needs to start hitting his 3's again. You don't live by the three, you die by the three. If he can start hitting those three's again, sure it will help us build a lead on the Heat, but it will help close out games. The Heat always seem to be making comebacks against the Celtics. Hit more three's and make it harder on the Heat.
5.) I can't even begin to stress how important Rondo and KG are to this series. The Heat don't have an answer for Rondo other than by taking out one of his elbows. Rondo is the play-maker of the Celtics. He really is the Tom Brady of point-guards. Give him time in the "pocket" and he will eat out alive. He shows up big against the Heat, Triple-Double's waiting to happen...KG is so vital to this team as well. He needs to hit his jump shots and hit them often. Got to get him going quick in games.
When it's all said and done...the Celtics are the underdogs in this. But, if there is anything the 2012 Celtics have taught me...never appease them. They will find a way to make it work. Just like they did have the All-Star break.
Celtics win in Game 7 with just a few seconds left on the clock and Pietrus hit's a 3 sending them to the Finals. Celtics ride that wave of motivation to beat out the Spurs to become champions once more for a last hurrah of the Big 3.
I Am A Celtic.