We have finally been granted reprieve from that awful Celtics-Sixers series (Why god? WHY?), and it’s time to start gearing up for Celtics-Heat. In order to do so, Connor Huchton, Amin Vafa, Jared Dubin, Sean Highkin, and Noam Schiller answered some important questions about each team’s chances in the series, and some even more important questions about Rajon Rondo’s origins and entirely hypothetical series defining moments. Enjoy.
1) The Heat will win if…
Amin: Wade continues his play of late. LeBron will continue to be a beast. Wade needs to be one, too. And if they get Bosh back, too? Oof.
Noam: Neither LeBron nor Wade pull off a major disappearing act. Miami’s defense will sustain against an atrocious Boston offense regardless of any individual, but which mean that this series will come down to the Miami’s duo and their ability to put points on the board. They should have enough just from the twosome playing to their regular standards, let alone the insane bar set by te Indy series. But if LeBron inexplicably vanishes yet again or Wade’s knee-drain revival is cut short, they might lack the firepower to topple the KG Wall.
Connor: Both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade play up to their respective average levels and Mario Chalmers or Udonis Haslem provide some form of adequate production. Basically, the Heat’s two remaining stars have to stay healthy and the rest of the team has to do better than terrible. The Heat are the better team, Bosh or no Bosh, so they just need to play like ‘themselves’.
Sean: If LeBron and Wade play at even 80 percent of the level they did in the Indiana series, I’m not sure how much Boston can do. Getting Chris Bosh at some point would help, just to make Kevin Garnett work a little bit on defense. But if the Flying Death Machine does Flying Death Machine things, Miami should be fine.
Jared: LeBron doesn’t vanish off the face of the Earth.
2) The Celtics will win if…
Amin:This year, Rondo falls on Wade’s arm and makes it bend the other way. Seemed to work well for the Heat last year, though they would have won regardless. Still, the Celtics are going to need every advantage they can get.
Noam: They benefit from a borderline inconceivable medical miracle and/or Miami shoots itself in the foot. Boston has the heart of a champion and the ghosts of Celtic teams past and they’re in Miami’s head or whatever silly junk we’re supposed to believe, but this team just isn’t very good. Ray Allen looks horrendous, Paul Pierce’s “LeBron Stopper” reputation died last year when he still had his knee, and Ryan Hollins is getting major minutes. This team is completely overmatched unless something ridiculous happens.
Connor: If the Heat forget how to play offense and Boston scores more than 90 points on three separate occasions. Both are unlikely to happen.
Sean: How does “Boston can win if their defense slow down the deadliest open-court tandem in the world without having Avery Bradley to stick on Dwyane Wade” sound? If Bosh remains out, Garnett should have a monster series. But I don’t think that will be enough.
Jared: LeBron vanishes off the face of the Earth and Kevin Garnett goes ape shit.
3) Is Rajon Rondo an alien?
Amin: No, because he’s too flawed to not be human. Though if our planet needed some sort of intergalactic liaison to the rest of the universe, I’d nominate Rondo in a heartbeat.
Noam: Yes. The peaks and valeys his play sees on a quarter-to-quarter basis, let alone game-to-game, are too volatile to be caused by any human trait. It can only be explained by the unique chemical reaction caused by the fluctuations in the distance between his home planet of Tripdub and its pointguaridium-based moon.
Connor: No, triple-doubles are a purely human achievement if you discount Space Jam’s alternate universe.
Sean: The debate about whether or not there are intelligent life forms beyond earth is one of the most divisive, polarizing topics there is. You know what’s the most contentious topic in many parts of the NBA internet (besides the clutchness of LeBron)? The worth of Rajon Rondo. If you told me he were an alien sent to the NBA to bring to the surface every fan’s beliefs about what makes a good point guard, I’d have a surprisingly easy time believing it.
Jared: At this point, there’s more evidence for than against, right? Those gigantic hands, those octopus arms, the fact that he hasn’t shown an ounce of emotion since he entered the league. He’s got to be either an alien or a cyborg, and since I’m not comfortable with the thought that he might be a computer-generated program designed to deliver pinpoint passes, I’m going with alien. Seems like a safer bet.
4) If The Heat are The Flying Death Machine The Celtics are..
Amin: The Rack. You know, that medieval torture device where one’s body was tied to it, pulled in several directions, so you’d suffer a slow, disorienting, and painful death? That’s basically what the Celtics try to do. Their offense isn’t that good, especially compared to the Heat’s. But they try to trap others and get them out of rhythm so their offenses don’t work. It’s slow and painful to watch, but sometimes, it does the trick.
Noam: The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. There is nothing momentarily powerful about this team, but they are so desperate to continue with their incessantle feeble attacks that they are deadly just by sustaining their snail pace.
Connor: The beginning of Benjamin Button.
Sean: Brett Favre’s first season with the Vikings. Will they be blown up? Or will they remember they’re not supposed to be in the conference finals at this age? Every basketball fan kind of wants them to go away, even as they’re sort of in awe of how well they can utilize their age and evolving strength to hang with much younger teams.
Jared: The Venus Fly Trap. Their rotations are always on a string; never late, but never hurried. You think you have an open passing lane, and then it’s gone. You think you have an open jumper, and then it’s blocked. Boston’s defense tricks you into thinking you have an opening, and then slams it shut before you know what to do with yourself.
5)Provide a completely hypothetical moment that will define this series.
Amin: WARNING: THIS IS GROSS: Dexter Pittman will try to be a tough guy again and flagrantly foul KG, but KG will see it coming, and he’ll rip off Pittman’s arm and use it to trip Wade. Wade will strain his ACL, and Bosh will reinjure his abs because he got so grossed out watching that happen that he puked a lot. The Heat bench, then the entire arena will be like the pie-eating contest scene in “Stand By Me,” and Celtics will win the series by default.
Noam: Wade and James will combine for 79 points in an 87-85 win in game four that will put Miami up 3-1 and seal the deal. The game winning shot, however, will be made by Joel Anthony, thus keeping the clutch narrative alive.
Connor: With the series tied 1-1, the Heat have possession and are inbounding with seven seconds remaining. LeBron James catches the ball at half court and quickly drives towards the basket. Just when all seems lost for the Heat and James is hurtling out of bounds, he ‘passes up the moment’ by throwing the ball back to a patiently waiting Joel Anthony. Anthony dunks the ball as time expires, and the Heat win. Confused, the Boston crowd accidentally cheers.
Sean: LeBron and Wade will do the unthinkable and actually score ALL of the Heat’s points between them in a close win, putting to rest any doubts about whether they can play together at the ends of games. Needless to say, the following game, LeBron will pass to, like, Dexter Pittman for the final shot and the “WHO’S TEH CLOSER” debate will become five times as annoying as it already is.
Jared: Game 5. Heat up by 2. Boston has whittled Miami’s 20 point lead all the way down and it looks like they might actually make a series of this thing. And then LeBron dunks in KG’s grill, and for the first time in his career, the big man doesn’t get up woofing and hollering.
6) Who ya got and in how many?
Amin: Heat in 5. I would have said Heat in 6, but I think it’d be really difficult for the Heat to win a closeout Game 6 in Boston this year, and I don’t think the Celtics will provide enough resistance to take Miami to 7 games.
Noam: Heat in 5. The Celtics have 4 players who are both good and healthy. When you’re playing the Heat and even depth is a disadvantage, you’re not in for a pretty sight. Honestly, Miami should probably sweep this, but they’ve consistently lacked the focus to do so against any opponent and Rajon Rondo will have his one crazy game at home because that’s what he does.
Connor: The Heat will win in five games, unless they don’t, in which case I would like to change my prediction to whatever actually happens. Please edit this when the time comes.
Sean: Heat in 5. LeBron and Wade will just be too much for the Celtics to handle.
Jared: Heat in 5.