It's always interesting to read what the enemy has to say about an upcoming matchup or in this case, a playoff series. While most local (and national) pundits believe the Celtics will eliminate the Heat, the only argument seems to be how many games it will take. It has gone the full spectrum with people picking the Celtics in 4, 5, 6 and even 7 games. Not in Miami however. Maybe it's the positive vibes from being in the South Beach sun but the Miami scribes like the Heat to advance. Here's what Israel Gutierrez has to say about the Celtics:
And his Heat has followed, to the point where it has been the hottest in the league during the final six weeks of the season.
Do you think that doesn't matter when it comes to a facing the Celtics? Think again. This isn't about some immeasurable concept like momentum. It's about a real trend. The Heat has been playing excellent basketball during its 18-4 run through March and April.
The Celtics, on the other hand, have been little more than mediocre during its 15-14 run to end the season that includes losses to the Knicks, Rockets, Wizards, Grizzlies and Nets. The Heat couldn't lose to the Nets even though it was trying to.
The veteran Celtics can talk themselves into believing they're still capable. But it's merely the denial of a team living off reputation.
The Heat is on a roll. Wade is at his best. And the Celtics will be at his mercy. He will take advantage of Garnett's slow reaction, of Kendrick Perkins' overly aggressive defensive play and of Rajon Rondo's roaming nature on defense.
These aren't the Celtics of 2008. And these Celtics haven't seen the best of Wade.
“In '08, I think that [Celtics team] was probably the best defensive team I've ever faced,'' Wade said. “In those games, I was trying to be too aggressive at the wrong times. So I've tried to be smarter against them and pick my spots. Every team has a weakness; you just have to try to find it.''
The gloves are off and the lines have been drawn. Time to drink from the firehose!