The winners of the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers second round series will lie in wait for the Celtics if they can overcome the 76ers. Right now, the Pacers are shocking the Heat as they lead 2-1 with home court advantage in their favor.
After Chris Bosh got injured, the Heat looked a little lost lats night in Indiana with Dwyane Wade having a historically bad night shooting the ball. He didn't contribute much either on the defensive end as the whole Heat team appeared to accept their fate, losing by double digits, without much repute.
Ironically, considering how he is berated by most fans and looked upon as the lesser of the Heat's Big Three, Bosh's important to the Heat is monumental and could potentially cost them this series.
That may not be what the Boston Celtics want however.
The Celtics would not matchup well with the size of the Indiana Pacers but without Bosh, they would fancy their chances against the Miami Heat.
If the Heat are to win this series and advance to the Conference Finals then they will have to play at least three more games and finish it in six. If Bosh is out for that length of time, then Lebron James will need to play a phenomenal number of minutes.
James didn't look fresh last night as he has already logged a lot of minutes during the playoffs and as a result of the condensed regular season. Without any real depth in the team's rotation, James would enter the Celtics game feeling like Paul Pierce looks...tired.
Paul Pierce has proven in the past that he can guard Lebron James. He may not shut him down completely, nobody does, but he can stick with him enough to prevent James from taking over games. Pierce may actually struggle more with the playing style, and energy, of Danny Granger.
Even though Dwyane Wade had a historically bad night last night, that is not something you can expect to continue. It's possible that it will, but you cannot plan for that. Fortunately for the Celtics they have a defensive specialist at shooting guard these days who goes by the name of Avery Bradley.
Bradley can really frustrate him with his speed and energy as, without Bosh, Wade will also see extra minutes while Bradley will be able to check in and out with Ray Allen. Allen has really boosted the Celtics' bench scoring and allows the Celtics to have more consistent pressure on the offensive end.
While he may have only taken two shots in Game 3 against the 76ers, Allen has the ability to consistently carry the second unit off the bench which is a dimension the Heat lack. The Pacers don't have a very deep rotation either, but their starting five all contribute more on both ends of the floor to spread the pressure.
Mario Chalmers appears to be the Heat's go to third option without Chris Bosh. Considering the defensive talents of Rajon Rondo, that is not a problem for the Celtics. Chalmers has really elevated his game this year but he is still not on the level of Rondo.
The Heat may struggle to beat the Pacers without Chris Bosh, but the Celtics will probably hope to face them regardless of whether Bosh is on the court or not. The Celtics are the smallest team in the playoffs, they have no hope of containing David West and Roy Hibbert with Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass as their starting center and power forward.
Hibbert and West would dominate the paint at both ends of the court in a seven game series.
Considering that the Heat, without Bosh, would probably be starting Shane Battier and Ronny Turiaf, moving James to power forward, the Celtics would match up a lot better with that starting five than the Pacers'.
With Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem coming off the bench, there is very little firepower inside to expose the Celtics' weak spot.
Even with the season that Kevin Garnett is putting together in the playoffs, it would be a lot to ask him to deal with the 7'2" powerhouse of Roy Hibbert and man mountain that is David West who play for the Pacers.
Right now, the Boston Celtics can't help but have one eye on the other series. While most will think that they are delighted about the prospect of facing the Indiana Pacers, the truth is they're better suited to handle the Heat.