So how about that first day of the playoffs! Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert down for the count with injuries, Orlando shocking the NBA world with some competitive fight against the Pacers, and Dirk Nowitzki vs Kevin Durant round 2…All leading up to the exclamation point of Durant’s game winner over Shawn Marion.
All that was day one…
So what will day 2 bring to the table?
Celtics vs Hawks: Well, I’m definitely excited to see our Celtics play the “home” team Hawks. The Hawks ended up with the better record by a game and will have the home court advantage in this series. This team is a team that some days falls in love with isolation type games, where they basically can look like a park pick up team. Other days they move the ball around flawlessly and Joe Johnson and Josh Smith look like their unstoppable. IMO I think this team has gotten worse compared to last year’s Atlanta Hawks team and as long as we hold them to a half-court team, I think the Celtics will have a great chance to win this series.
Advantages: We have the better players at every position and we have the better bench compared to Atlanta. Rondo IMO has been the best PG this year and will continue his dominance in this series by wheelin and dealin to his teammates against the Hawks. I guarantee Teague nor Henrich can stop his penetration. Ray Allen is questionable, but Avery Bradley is a defensive stopper who can lock down Joe Johnson while cutting and driving his way to about 15 ppg. Paul should be rested as will KG, and Pietrus is finally ready to contribute in the playoffs and maybe can be our last championship piece, just like how James Posey was in 2008.
Disadvantages: Even though Bradley is a great defender, he lacks the size to matchup with Joe Johnson. If Joe starts to go off early, look for Doc to increase Pietrus’s minutes. If Ray does suit up for the early games of this series, this matchup shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The other disadvantage I see is our rebounding. We MUST rebound the ball in the playoffs, especially this team. A good defensive possesion must be capped of with a rebound and we are in the late 20′s in rebounding this year in the NBA.
Prediction: Celtics take the first game, but there is too much history from the 2008 playoffs season from these two teams to get a series sweep in. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Celtics in 7, just because of the mini rivalry these teams have. A 7 game series is going to be good for this team’s run in the playoffs.