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It's Miami

The Boston Celtics will play the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2010 NBA playoffs. The schedule has yet to be finalized, but the C's will be in action either Saturday or Sunday. 

Quick scouting report on the Heat:

We all know about Dwyane Wade. He averaged 26.5 points per game in the regular season, but don't be shocked to see that number inch closer to 30 now that the playoffs have arrived. He's obviously the type of guy that will get his points, no matter what the Celtics try to do to him defensively. The C's can throw a variety of defenders at him (Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels, and possibly Rajon Rondo), but this looks like it'll be one of those series where containing Miami's other players is more important. Boston might not be able to stop Wade, but they certainly can stop the likes of Jermaine O'Neal, Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem, and Carlos Arroyo. 

One important stat about the Heat: They take good care of the basketball. As a team, Miami averaged only 13.13 turnovers per game during the regular season, good for the fourth lowest mark in the league. 

Hit the jump for some more stats and a look at the schedule for the first round. 

I haven't dived into the deeper stats just yet, but here are some basics:

  • The Heat averaged 41.71 rebounds per game during the regular season, good for 15th in the league (14 spots higher than Boston).
  • Miami averaged a modest 96.54 points per game during the regular season, but allowed just 94.33 points per game on the other end. 
  • For the season, Miami shot 45.9 percent from the field, 34.7 percent  from three-point nation, and 75.2 percent from the free throw line.
  • The Celtics and Heat met three times during the regular season, with the C's winning all three games by an average margin of just six points.
The last two seasons we've seen the Celtics go up against young, athletic teams, which has culminated in back-to-back first round seven-game series. Does Miami qualify as a young, athletic team? Sort of. Wade's obviously a freak of an athlete, and Beasley is more than capable of getting out on the break. Beyond that, though, Jermaine O'Neal shouldn't be able to jump over anybody down low, and Arroyo's athleticism pales in comparison to Rondo's. Still, if Wade turns into a one-man fast breaking machine, the C's could be in for some long nights.

We'll obviously have much more on the Celtics' first round matchup with the Miami Heat over the next few days. 

Update: Here's what the schedule looks like for the first round: 

Game 1: Saturday, April 17 - 8:00pm (ESPN/Comcast SportsNet)

Game 2: Tuesday, April 20 - 8:00pm (TNT/Comcast SportsNet)

Game 3: Friday, April 23 - 7:00pm (ESPN/Comcast SportsNet)

Game 4: Sunday, April 25 - 1:00pm (ABC)

Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 27 - TBD

Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, April 29 - TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, May 1 - TBD (TNT)

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