Tonight the Miami Heat will be looking to do much more than just win a basketball game. They will be aiming to defeat the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will be looking to finally get past the older, more experienced big three, who have seemingly tortured the two over the past four years.
Essentially, the Miami Heat will be out to prove all of their critics and doubters wrong. They will be looking to do what no one outside of South Florida wanted them to do, and that's beat the Boston Celtics when it counts in the postseason.
If all goes according to Miami's plan, the good news is that both teams win. The Heat move on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth time in team history, and the eldery Celtics find themselves already in one of the retirement capitals of the world for a nice, lengthy vacation.
What could be better?
No Easy Task
After the enormous game four win on Boston's home court, many Miami Heat fans celebrated for being one step closer to burying the Boston Celtics. Many thought it was all but over.
Heat players and coaches acted otherwise. After a few nice pats on the back, the Heat were back in Miami on Tuesday going hard in practice and preparing for tonight's matchup.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both acknowledged that they're work is not done and that tonight's game is just as big as Monday's. However, when asked if he was worried about the Celtics' energy, James confidently replied that "they will have to match ours".
Fast Start Imperative
I feel like I'm kicking a dead horse by repeatedly saying this, but it needs to be said again.
Miami must come out strong from the tip tonight. If not, the Celtics' veterans could smell blood and make the task of winning that much harder for this Heat team.
The Heat should hit the ground running and never look back, setting the tone from the very beginning and not letting up until the final whistle is blown. If it means giving Mario Chalmers the start, then so be it. If it means having a different, more aggressive mindset, then so be it.
The bottomline is Miami has to find a way to solve their early game issues.
Play Their Game
For almost every game this series, Miami has been successful in playing their style of basketball and executing. In fact, something happened in game four that no one would have ever thought could have happened this year with this Heat team. They out-executed the Boston Celtics late when it counted most.
If James and Wade can continue their strong play, if Bosh can play with confidence and if a few role players can step up, Miami should win this game with ease.