Boston Celtics Playoff Review “Banner 18”

By By Travis H. Singleton, BASN sports writer
Updated: April 22, 2012
BOSTON, MA (BASN)—With the Boston Celtics nearing to the end of their short handed season they have a couple games left and they are resting the starters so I figured let’s jump right into playoff mode. The Celtics have been right in the driver seat in the second part of the season and they will go as far as they want the team and the city to go. The aged Boston Celtics have yet again shut up all the haters that said “The Boston Celtics are old and can’t run with any of the young teams”. The scary part about this season is that the Celtics aren’t even at their full strength which is really funny because, they are without Jeff Green,Chris Wilcox, and Jermaine O’neal and not to mention players that have been playing hurt as well.

Being in the TD Garden you can feel the playoff atmosphere while watching the Celtics play but nothing gets you more pumped then when you walk in the arena and look at the banner’s. The goal this season is banner 18 and that has been what has come out of the player’s mouths they are focused and determined and playing Celtic basketball at the right time of the season. With Avery Bradley stepping up big time averaging 7.5 ppg but, just his growth in the Celtics system is what has impressed me. Avery’s defense leads to his offense and he can guard any perimeter player on the opposing team and everyone was a witness to that when he blocked Dwayne Wade on April Fool’s Day. The way Avery Bradley has been playing lately has given the sharp shooter Ray Allen a lot more time to rest up his swollen ankle for the playoffs which I think is a smart move by Doc Rivers. If Bradley is playing that good he can rest his veterans to make a strong push in the playoffs to get closer to banner 18.

Paul Pierce is playing some of his best basketball right in time for the playoff push and also Garnett and Bass are handing the interior with rebounding and hitting their pick and pop jumpers. Rajon Rondo the triple double machine just needs to show up and play his MVP caliber game every night in the playoffs which means grab rebounds and push it to the basket and attack.

First Round Match Up – Atlanta Hawks
In order for the Boston Celtics to win the first round match up against the Atlanta Hawks they would have to do these key things, Rebound,Rebound and Rebound. The Hawks are a very athletic team but defensively they are lacking on a perimeter defender which means that it could be a NBA Finals Deja Vu for Ray Allen to go off shooting lights out in the series, especially if they can wear down Joe Johnson. If you put Avery Bradley on Joe Johnson that can take away their top scorer and force the rest of the Hawks to beat them in a shoot out.

Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo will have great mismatches on them so they can exploit them easily as Pierce will have Williams on him or Hinrich and Rondo will have Hinrich or Teague on him. This can easily be a triple double series for Rondo because, if Rondo is active on the boards and getting his team involved assist wise and just does some razzle dazzle lay-ups he will be averaging a triple double in the opening round.

The one problem the Celtics could run into is that Josh Smith could become that dominate player that has been hiding inside him out of no where and rebound,block and score the ball. He will be one of the keys to Atlanta’s success and also Joe Johnson because, the Hawks do good when they do good. I believe in order to advance in the playoffs you have to have a strong bench and chemistry and also you have to know your role.

The Celtics have all of those qualities and I believe the Celtics can and will beat the Atlanta Hawks if they exploit what I talked about above so with that being said I have the Celtics winning the series 4-2 and advancing to the second round to meet up with the Chicago Bulls.

Second Round Match Up – Chicago Bulls
Now in order for the Celtics to get by the Chicago Bulls they will have to be well rested. The bench will win this series overall I believe this will be the series where Pietrus and Bass will shine the most because, they will have to bring their game to another level that the Celtics and Doc may have not asked for all year. Pietrus and Bass will have to be the one’s that keep it going when KG and Pierce have to get their rest, with that being said they would have to produce because the Bulls are great defenders that might wear down the big 3.

Rondo will rise to the occasion against Derrick Rose because, if you look at all of Rajon’s playoff performances when he has faced a elite player his game kicks up a couple of notches. The Bulls will have Derrick Rose and even if he plays or not they are still used to winning without the MVP and have beaten the Celtics without him so they would need to hold down the All Star Deng which will be Pierce’s job to move on. The last time the Celtics played the Bulls Deng killed them down the stretch with his clutch shooting in the 4th quarter.

So if the Celtics can bring back some of that magical 07-08 defense in a couple of the road games in Chicago I see this going 7 games. The Bulls are very dangerous on the fast break after turnover’s and the Celtics would have to have great ball movement and keep the turnovers down to a minimum if they want to pass the No.1 seed Chicago Bulls.

This series like I said above will land on the Bench but also Rondo will direct the direction of this series for Boston and I have them taking it in 7 games because, this is the Big 3’s last go around and they are battled tested true road warrior’s that aren’t scared to play on the oppositions court.

Third Round Match Up – Miami Heat
The Celtics have had the Miami Heat’s number all year so far and they meet again on this Tuesday but, the Celtics have hung in their with the defending Eastern Conference Champs. Everyone can say they are impressed with the aged Celtics performance but, I can actually say that I’m not because, they had Miami on the ropes last year in the playoffs until Rondo’s elbow got injured when D-Wade fell on him.

The Celtics have rose to the occasion of playing them and the Celtics have the better advantage in my eyes now listen to why before you judge me. The Celtics have a better bench,more experience, and also we have a healthy Kevin Garnett because, this will be the series where we see the KG of the old trust and believe me. KG has gotten abused by Bosh on points and rebounds in the post season and this will click in KG’s head that this could be his last chance at the title. KG will average a double double in that series and he will have a 20 rebound game the Celtics will go off his defensive presence and use his motivation and will to take them back to the finals. Oh yeah I forgot about Batman and Robin (fill in who’s who at own risk) and they will come at the Celtics with their everything.

The Celtics will be tested and it will take 2 or 3 defenders to stop number 6 from destroying the paint. The Celtics play team basketball and their is no “I” in team which I seem the Heat turn too a little too much. The Heat will shoot themselves in the foot with the isolation which means they will be clueless too who should be the closer is it Wade or Lebron. We will not know until then but one thing I can say is that the Celtics have the chance to steal this away from Miami if they come out with a hay maker in the first half and always have the Heat trying to get back in the game. The Celtics will win this series if the bench is strong 4-2 and will play the Western Conference Champion in the NBA Finals.

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(4) Boston (5) Atlanta
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(2) Miami (7) New York
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