Boston vs. Miami Battle Royal

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference battle between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat takes place in roughly three hours. The big story revolving around tonight’s game is three-fold.

1. Can Chris Bosh, if he successfully manages to play, have any type of significant impact on the outcome of the game?

2. Can the Boston Celtics keep the fast breaking Miami Heat at bay and head back to Boston the definitive favorites with a 3-2 lead in the series?

3. Can the Miami Heat, with all of their problems closing out games late, overcome the inevitable late game surge and force Boston into a must win game 6 situation?

All three questions will make for a compelling game tonight mainly because the answer to each can play out in a variety of different ways.

It looks like Chris Bosh will be in the lineup tonight barring a disaster in the pre game warm ups. It will be a valiant effort by Bosh to come back and sure, the Heat could probably use his presence in the middle and on the pick and pop, but he has had a less than successful career against the Celtics, particularly Kevin Garnett.

In the majority of their previous matchups, Garnett has regularly gotten the better of Bosh. Whether it’s due to experience or an intimidation factor, no one is really sure, but the fact remains that Boston is not the best matchup for Bosh. Why they would expect him to come back after missing close to two weeks and have an impact that could swing the game in their favor, I have no clue.

As for the Celtics, they can’t afford to play from behind in this game. They don;t have the youth or depth to keep up with Miami if they get out in transition and get easy baskets. If that happens, Miami can stake itself to a comfortable cushion and force Boston into come back mode. That’s not to say the Celtics can’t manage a late game rally, they’re one of the best teams in basketball. But, they can’t afford to waste an inordinate amount of energy playing in comeback mode. They need to conserve as much energy as possible so they can be better prepared for game 6. The best way to do that? Get out front and play with the lead.

Ultimately though, this game is probably going to come down to the wire and once again that will mean watching the Heat try to get off a game winning shot in comical fashion. The stats don’t lie, when the Heat are forced into game winning shot type of situations they just aren’t successful. It doesn’t matter if it’s James, Wade, or Bosh taking the final shot either. If someone on the Heat is taking the final shot, chances are it’s going to clank off the back of the rim. So for the Heat to be victorious tonight, they will have to play their absolute best basketball and have a substantial lead in the waning minutes.

All in all, it should be a quality game tonight. The Heat are looking to put themselves into a favorable situation. Win tonight and they get two options to close out the Celtics, lose and they have to go to a terrifyingly loud Boston Garden to face a Celtics team looking to put a lasting stamp on its legacy. Don’t be fooled, folks, tonight’s game might not be a close out game, but it’s definitely for all the marbles. Let’s just hope the referees stay out of it and let them play.

Yea, right…

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