It is way too early to start talking about the Eastern Conference Finals, but it is hard to blame folks for starting to take a few logical steps forward projecting the next few rounds. Enter Adrian Wojnarowski to connect the dots.
Across the Eastern Conference, the big stars are tumbling out of Miami’s way. Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose are out of these playoffs, the two best players at the two positions – center and point guard – the Heat have shown to be most vulnerable. They’re gone, but Wade never tackled them in a playoff game the way he did Rondo a season ago. The East is clearing out for the Heat, but Rondo, the slightest star in stature, still cuts the most threatening figure. Mario Chalmers has grown, but Miami has never had the antidote for him.
Personally I'd take it another step and say that the Big 4 is the biggest threat to the Heat, and to be fair Wojo points that out as well.
Boston's still the looming issue for Miami because Rondo and Paul Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen have a run left with them. Boston's still looming because that failed, final sequence in the Heat's Game 4 loss to the Knicks on Sunday is a reminder of how efficiently this Celtics coach and these Celtics stars run plays in the telltale moments of games. Miami doesn't need to let Boston linger in a series, doesn't need to let the conference championship come down to execution late in games.
The Celtics are just flat-out playing better than they were at this time last year (despite the 4 game sweep of the Knicks). They are a great team right now. The Heat have great individuals and they play some very good defense, so they won't be pushovers. But when push comes to shove, the Celtics would be doing a lot of shoving.