On order for the Celtics to take Game 6 in Miami, “KJ” and “Hondo” will need to step up and have above-average games.
Here I go again on my own. Going down the only road I’ve ever known. These are the lyrics to Whitesnake’s hit song, “Here I Go Again,” and they almost flawlessly coincide with Lebron James’ path to the NBA Finals. Having gotten there last year by going through Boston in the semi-final round, the three-time MVP once again has to defeat the Celtics to get a chance to play for the elusive championship he so covets. And he’ll get the opportunity to move his team on to play the Oklahoma City Thunder with one more victory Saturday night in Miami. The question is, will the superstar be able to provide an encore similar to his epic 45-point, 15-rebound performance against the C’s Thursday night?
In my opinion, I don’t think he will. I think the moment is too great, the spotlight shining too brightly for Lebron to step into it. Plus, I feel that the Celtics will have aptly prepared for James and will be intent on stopping him from going off again. So who will pick up the slack for Miami? I believe that task will fall in the hands of Dwayne Wade, who has been held in check by the Celtics all series long. And despite his outstanding scoring ability, I don’t think he’ll handle it quite like James did in Game 6. I expect him to go over 20, possibly even score 30, but I definitely don’t see Wade scoring into the low to mid-40s. The C’s have done a great job of only allowing one of Miami’s top scorers to get their points in this series, so I expect nothing less as far as defensive containment goes Saturday.
I also believe that the Celtics scorers will step up given the possibility this could be their final game of the season. Paul Pierce will certainly bounce back being the clutch performer that he is. Kevin Garnett will make his presence felt down low and clear out driving lanes to the basket. Rajon Rondo will be dishing out assists left and right, as well as doing what he can to put the ball in the basket. And finally, Ray Allen will hit a couple of clutch 3′s and do what he can to get his jumper going, mainly coming off of picks to try and get some extra lift on his shot.
But this is simply my prediction. You, or someone you know, might agree with ESPN analysts and believe that the Heat stole the momentum of the series with their Game 6 victory and will carry that into Miami tonight. If there’s anything we learned about this series so far, however, Miami doesn’t carry momentum very well from game-to-game. Having only won the first two games in a row, the second victory coming in overtime after they were outplayed by Boston, the Heat don’t do a great job of maintaining a choke hold on their opponents. The Celtics, on the other hand, have the toughness and resiliency to bounce back after a tough home loss.
Now, some of you might say that Miami did just that in Game 6, which would be an accurate assessment. But keep in mind this statistic: while the Big Three are 0-2 in their last Game 7s (prior to this postseason, which has seen them go 2-0), Boston is 21-7 all-time in Game 7s, including 4-2 in the Big Three era. That’s a pretty favorable stat, one that I’m going to use to support my argument that the Celtics will win this game and advance to the NBA Finals. Plus, the Heat don’t have the playoff experience that Boston has. And honestly, that’s what matters most on this biggest of stages, when the pressure can break down many and be conquered by few. Tonight, New England sports fans, Boston will be the team to handle the adversity and make the big plays. Tonight, the Celtics will shock the NBA community and knock off the proverbial superpower that is the Miami Heat.
Prediction: Celtics 97. Heat 92
If you need any extra motivation for tonight‘s contest, here it is:
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