Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
The most intriguing matchup of the NBA playoffs so far has been Boston Celtics against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round as Doc Rivers’ squad showed that they aren’t as old as everybody has said they are and they could very well be on the way to another NBA title.
Not only did the Boston Celtics dominate LeBron James and company in this series in almost every aspect of the game, but that classic Celtics lockdown defense that we saw in their 2008 championship run seems to be back in Boston.
Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James were arguably their toughest test of the entire season, the Orlando Magic pose another threat entirely as they are extremely talented on the offensive end of the floor and have arguably the best defensive player in the league the in the paint in Dwight Howard.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Boston Celtics can compete and beat the Orlando Magic in a seven-game series, but it will be no easy task as they don’t have just one player to shut down in the series against the Magic.
Obviously, when you play the Cleveland Cavaliers the defense focuses on LeBron James and if the defense can shut down arguably the best plan the league, the team forces the role players to step up and get it done. In Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics focus on shutting down Dwight Howard in the paint, but unlike the Cavs, the Orlando Magic have multiple offense of weapons with players like Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson which can pick up the slack and hurt opposing defenses in many different ways.
The one great thing about this Eastern Conference finals playoff series will be that is a classic matchup between the great offense and a great defense. The cliché in professional sports these days is that defense wins championships and even though I believe the defense plays a pivotal part in winning championships, especially in the NBA, I do believe an unstoppable offense can be just as good if not better than a lockdown defense.
Even though the Boston Celtics defense might be the key to this series against a relentless Orlando Magic offense, the one thing that I can see that will be the X-factor is the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics in Kevin Garnett.
Over the past two seasons Kevin Garnett has been plagued with injuries, really for the first time in his NBA career, but the future hall of famer is finally healthy and he displayed that fact against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.
Obviously, Kevin Garnett will have his hands full against Dwight Howard which will test him on both ends of the floor, but KG has a heart, drive and a never say die attitude that will propel his team into the NBA Finals once again.
Another key matchup to watch during this series is at the point guard position with two very young and talented players going at it. Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic has played a big role in their success this season and throughout the postseason, but will have his hands full against arguably the best point guard in the league in Rajon Rondo.
Not only does Rondo have the advance on defense against Nelson in my opinion, but I believe he might also have the same advantage on the offensive end of the floor. Nelson is the better shooter, there is no doubt about that, but Rondo is a great playmaker which might be the difference.
Needless to say, this playoff matchup could quite possibly be the best match of left in the NBA postseason and without a doubt a must watch for any avid NBA fan.
Series Prediction: Boston Celtics 4-3