Well the 2nd round in the Eastern Conference has finally finished after two lengthy series. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are the two teams that have advanced to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. The series will start on Monday, which means that the Celtics will only have a couple days to prepare for the Heat before having to play game 1 of the series.
2012 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference 2nd Round Recap
• Miami Heat defeated Indiana Pacers 4-2
The Pacers were able to steal game 2 on the road against the Heat and they won their 1st game back at home in game 3. If you bet on Indiana you could have hedged out of your bet for a profit after game 2 or 3 of the series. However, Miami battled back and were able to reel off three wins in a row to win the series 4-2. Miami has been resting since Thursday (May 24th).
• Boston Celtics defeated Philadelphia 76’ers 4-3
Boston finished off the 76’ers tonight in game 7 of the series, but neither team looked good. Boston barely survived the series and they scored 85 points or less in 4 games. Philadelphia was equally as poor shooting the basketball in the series and if they could have made a few more shots it may be them playing the Heat next week in the Eastern Conference Finals.
2012 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Odds & Predictions
I really don’t think the Heat cared who won the Celtics vs. Sixers series. Miami is playing way better basketball than Boston right now and this series could be a very quick one. Boston has been averaging less than their season averages in most categories on offence throughout the playoffs and in the last two games they have been shooting the ball absolutely horribly.
The Celtics have been struggling a lot from beyond the arc as well, which they need to try and correct quickly. During the regular season Boston shot 36.7% from 3-point land, but in the playoffs they’re only hitting 28.3% of their 3-pointers. The Celtics have hit a horrendous 3-17 from beyond the arc in game 7 and only 3-14 in game 6 against Philadelphia.
Ray Allen has been the glue that holds the Celtics together since he signed with Boston, but during this playoff run Allen has had to deal with injuries that have hindered his performance. Allen has been shooting the ball very poorly and he has been starting because the Celtics bench is extremely weak, especially now that Bradley has been ruled out for the season.
Miami may have started their last series slowly against Indiana, but they really picked it up. In game 4 the Heat scored 101 points, in game 5 the Heat scored 115 points and in game 6 the Heat put up 105 points to finish off the Pacers. Miami averages 98.1PPG, so they were playing much better than average in their last 3 games and that’s bad news for a struggling Boston team.
One thing that may concern Miami backers is the fact they lack depth, but I don’t think that will be a problem against Boston, as they also struggle with depth on the bench. Playing without Chris Bosh hasn’t posed too much of a problem yet for the Heat and I don’t think it will hurt them until the NBA Championship. Boston lacks depth just as much as the Heat do in this series.
Lebron James leads the Heat in just about every offensive category throughout the playoffs. If James is hungry the Heat should be able to win every game this series although I don’t think that will happen. I definitely don’t see this series going the distance either. Miami should be able to finish off the aging Boston Celtics in 5-6 games at the most.
With Boston’s age they have been throwing up shots from all over the court it seems a lot more frequently rather than try and take the basketball to the rim. Miami averages 42.2PPG in the paint compared to the Celtics 34.7PPG in the paint and I think that will be a big difference in this series. Boston struggled to shoot the ball against Philadelphia, but the 76’ers were even worse.
Boston also plays great perimeter defence, but they do struggle a bit inside with their aging veterans and lack of height. Boston only allows an average of 88.6PPG against, but an average of 39.5PPG come in the paint on the Celtics defence. Miami should be able to exploit the paint and unless Boston starts hitting 10%+ from the field they won’t be able to hang with the Heat.
Miami has been shooting the 3-ball much better than Boston as well. Miami hit 26 of 90 3-pointers against the Pacers in 6 games while the Celtics shot 28 of 99 from beyond the 3-point line in their series against Philly. Allen is a big key in this series I think, as he should be able to keep Boston in the game offensively if he can find his shot, but that may be a big if.
During the regular season the Celtics actually went 3-1 against the Heat. Miami won the season opener 115-107 while the Celtics went on to win the remaining 3 games in the series. Dwayne Wade and Lebron James didn’t play in game 4 of the series this season, but they were both playing along with Bosh in the other two losses to Boston.
After watching Boston struggle to advance past a weak Philadelphia team I’m going with the Heat. The odds aren’t out yet, but the Heat are definitely going to be big favourites in the series. I might look to bet on Miami to win in 5 or 6 games depending on the odds when they’re released at Pinnacle, but Miami is definitely my prediction to advance to the 2012 NBA Championships.
• My Pick – Miami Heat to Win Series 4-2