When the Brooklyn Nets ownership made the offseason deal to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Celtics, they made the move with an eye on a series like this. They spent over 90 million dollars in luxury tax to put a winning team on the court and now have their chance to knock the two time defending NBA champions out of the playoffs. They also swept the Heat 4-0 in the regular season, giving them plenty of reason for optimism. They struggled against the Raptors in round one, however rebounded from being down 3-2 in the series to win a tough game 7 on the road.
The Miami Heat are the only team to sweep their opponent in the first round. They outplayed the Bobcats in every aspect of the game. The only question is whether the team will play better because they are well rested or they will be rusty because of too much time off.
Point Guard- Mario Chalmers vs. Deron Williams
Mario Chalmers may never be an All Star, however he has been a starter for three consecutive NBA finals. He is a strong 3-point shooter and knows the teams defensive system inside ands out. Reports of the demise of Deron Williams have been greatly exaggerated. While he has not played at the superstar level he did in Utah, he has combined battling injury with working in a roster of former All Stars and young players. The 18 points per game he averaged in the first round shows he has a lot left in the tank.
Shooting Guard- Dwayne Wade vs. Joe Johnson
If you’re a Miami Hat fan, you are excited by the performance of Wade in the first round for 2 reasons. The first is that he appeared to be healthy and ready to go. The other is that he was productive and made shots from all over the court. Joe Johnson is one of the most unique players in the NBA. He can dominate for stretches just as much as he can disappear for long stretches. He will need to dominate for the Nets to pull this out.
Small Forward- Alan Anderson vs. Lebron James
Anderson has stepped up for the Nets, filling the small forward role after the team went to a four-guard alignment. He is a solid role player and all around player. James is the best player in the league and its not even close. He dominates in every aspect of the game.
Advantage – Miami
Power Forward- Paul Pierce vs. Udonis Haslem
Pierce and the team thrived after he moved over to the power forward spot. He is a proven playoff veteran and will not be afraid in the big moments. Haslem has also played in many playoff games and is a more traditional power forward. The key will be which team forces the other to adjust. Will Pierce expose Haslem on the perimeter of will Haslem expose him on the interior?
Advantage – Brooklyn
Center- Chris Bosh vs. Kevin Garnett
Bosh is the underrated member of the “Big 3” and his role has evolved into that of a facilitator in the high post. He has become much more of a jump shooter and will need to make the outside shot to keep Garnett on the wing with him. While Garnett is nowhere near the offensive player he once was he is still a defensive leader who leads the team on the court and in team huddles. He is limited to about 20 minutes a game and gets the most out of every one of them
Shaun Livingston, Andre Blatche, and Marcus Thornton are 3 capable scores off the bench for Brooklyn. Livingston is a playmaker and versatile defender. Norris Cole sees many minutes off the bench for Miami, while veterans Chris Anderson and Shane Battier make an impact.
Series Prediction – Nets in 7
Game 1 Pick
Take the Nets +7
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