Welcome Boston, we’ve been waiting on you. As your reward for knocking off the top seed, you’ve been tasked with taking on a well rested Orlando team that’s gone through the playoffs so far looking like gangbusters. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to hand the Magic their first playoff loss. Four times.
With the King’s coronation put off for another year, we the fans, are in for a treat with the past two Eastern Conference Finals representatives vying for another trip back for the ultimate prize. In one corner, you’ve got a veteran group who’s championship window is rapidly closing. While in the other, you’ve a team looking to finish what it started last year, finally having the experience to go along with the talent they relied on this year. Regardless of who’s standing once the series comes to a close, the real winner is us the fans, who’ll be treated to watching two teams at full strength & playing at the top of their games at the right time of the season.
While J. Tinsley attempts to get over yet another LeBron postseason loss, Celtics/Magic was likely the better series anyway. On paper, these teams are so evenly matched that it’ll come down to who’ll want it more. Boston has Orlando beat when it comes to the starting five. However, Orlando has a slight upper hand when it comes to second teams since they can defend on the perimeter, shoot well and defend decently in the paint.
Examining the series as a whole, two key questions will decide this series: Can Kendrick Perkins knock Dwight Howard off his game as he did last year? Who will win the point guard battle between Jameer Nelson and Rajon Rondo? Both point guards are experiencing the best playoffs of their respective careers. It is also interesting that both teams are coming in with supreme confidence – albeit different forms. Orlando hasn’t lost a game since early April and are currently 8-0 in the playoffs (including a complete domination of the Atlanta Hawks). Boston, on the other hand, put an end to not only Elbow-gate, but those pesky rumors of “old age” being their supposed downfall.
Patrick M. – Boston in 5