Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Battle of the Benches

Okay,we all know the story with the Miami and Boston starters. League luminaries and legends Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo hold down the green team, while LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh heat up Miami. The series seems like a clash of stars and holds half of the Eastern Conference All-Star team on the court at any given moment, but the playoffs are a long grind. Players have off-games, injuries, or playoff stagefright. This is where the supporting cast comes in and flourishes. It will take a total team effort for either Miami or Boston to win the series so let's take a look at the supporting casts of the Celtics and the Heat.

Carlos Arroyo, Avery Bradley, Von Wafer, Delonte West

Mike Bibby, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House

Miami's guards have the experience, and regularily crack the rotation. Wafer, Bradley and former-Heat Arroyo have been pretty glued to the Boston bench. Delonte West provides energy and agitation for LeBron, but is unpredictable at best. Bibby has been solid and less corpse-like than I assumed he'd be, Chalmers shows potential and Eddie House is a firecracker when the team needs him.
Winner: Miami

Glen Davis, Jeff Green, Troy Murphy, Sasha Pavlovic

Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard, James Jones, Mike Miller

Boston's forwards are an odd collection. Glen Davis has proved to be solid in the past and has a surprisingly good jump-shot. Jeff Green has yet to rise to the occasion and his emergence could quell the Kendrick Perkins ghosts. T-Murph fought his way off New Jersey's bench and is solid when used, don't know why Boston doesn't find him some floor-time. Haslem is a Heat faithful and co-captain with Wade, Juwan Howard can still provide quality minutes and if either James Jones or Mike Miller finds their shooting stroke, they are deadly while Bron and Wade draw double-teams.
Winner: Miami

Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Nenad Krstic

Joel Anthony, Eric Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, Dexter Pittman

The O'Neal boys are NBA legends and if Shaq can ever pick up a shadow of his former self the Celtics will be tough to beat. However, this being said, Shaq's only played 5 minutes in the past 35 games and even if he returns what kind of game-shape would he be in? JO has played well and Krstic is solid but undersized. The Heat's rotation of Joel Anthony, Ilgauskas, and Dampier have played their role well grabbing rebounds, clogging the lane, and not demanding the ball on offense. Unless Shaq returns strong, the Heat big men have he advantage over the Celtics' aging frontcourt.
Winner: Miami

Much has been made of the Celtics deep roster in the past, but Miami's star-chasing pick-ups have proved solid and have helped produce a game 1 win already. The Celtics are in deep down 0-1, but a dominant Rondo, a controlled and fueled Pierce and a resurging Shaq could put them on top. It's hard to doubt LeBron and Wade, and the tale of the benches indicates the Heat are more than a "three-trick" pony and have roster strength beyond expectations. Expect a close series, with the stronger team, rather than the team with the most star-power to prevail. This doesn't change my series preview pick, I'm not flip-flopping on the Celtics after one game and still expect them to win the series.

Celtics roster
Heat roster


No comments:

Post a Comment