June 5, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) looks on during the second half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Heat: Rivalry with Boston Celtics Heating up; Ray Allen Feud Blown Up

And here we thought the days of Miami Heat rivalries were finished.

From the New York Knicks of the 1990′s to the Detroit Pistons of the mid-2000′s, the Heat’s rivalry with other NBA teams have been thin with the exception of those two. You could argue against the Pistons rivalry, however, because of how short-lived it was, featuring two playoff matchup’s between the two with Detroit winning in 2005 and Miami in 2006. The Heat’s rivalry with the Knicks was sparked by four consecutive postseason matchup’s, with the Knicks winning three.

The rivalry wasn’t exactly rekindled in 2012. The Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks hardly hold a candle to those Knicks teams with Allan Houston and Patrick Ewing that terrorized the Heat to no ends.

With Miami’s ascension to the top of the East, they’ve come across competing teams who wish to challenge them for that top spot. The Chicago Bulls appeared ready for a few Conference Final’s meetings with the Heat, but the torn ACL of Derrick Rose and the overhaul of the bench has put a damper on that idea. Now that Chicago is essentially out of the running, Miami has found a rivalry worth watching against the Boston Celtics.

Miami has played Boston in the postseason for three consecutive season. The first featured the Celtics winning 4-1 over an inexperienced Heat team led by Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal. They would meet again next this, with the roles reversing as the Heat took a second-round matchup 4-1 thanks in part to significant improvement in the form of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

This past season featured the most heated and entertaining series of the two. Miami possessed a 2-0 series, only to lose three consecutive games. Fortunately, LeBron James scored 77 points combined in Games 6 and 7 to make up for the ailing Wade and Chris Bosh. It was the first time a series between the two went seven games and the first time the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ had been in  Game 7 type situation.

Plenty of barbs have been exchanged by both sides, as well. Kevin Garnett was infamously remembered for elbowing Quentin Richardson, Paul Pierce was ejected for throwing a hard screen on Wade, Jermaine O’Neal and LeBron James had an altercation and Dwyane Wade dislocated Rajon Rondo’s arm to name a few.

These teams don’t like each other when they get on the court. And now Ray Allen has switched sides from Boston to Miami? And Jason Terry, a notorious villain of Miami Heat lore, has taken his spot? It just gets juicier and juicier.

The idea of a feud between Allen and the Celtics has been blown out of proportion. The media is doing whatever they can to entice both sides into saying something quote worthy. Evidence has been, with the exceptions being Kevin Garnett deleting Allen’s phone number and Rondo acting like he didn’t know who Allen was. Rondo did also say, however, that the feud has been overblown.

There’s no doubt that it is overblown. But that probably won’t be the case come October 30th when these teams face off in a season opener down in Miami. It’ll be the second consecutive season the Heat have opened at home against the Celtics; they won last year’s hotly-contested meeting thanks to several clutch baskets from Norris Cole.

They’re going to meet up in the playoffs whether we like it or not. Miami’s progression through the postseason is extremely unlikely to be impeded and the Celtics have kept stride with the rest of their division, each team vastly improving. Boston may have lost the likes of Allen, Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus, but they add on rookies in Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, as well as veterans in Courtney Lee, Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins.

They’ll also be getting Jeff Green and Avery Bradley back. Green sat out all of last season following heart surgery and Bradley was lost in last year’s Conference Finals due to shoulder surgery, which will also keep him out possibly December.

Miami has added on Allen, Rashard Lewis, and possibly another shooter in center Josh Harrellson if he excels in training camp and preseason.

This rivalry can last for only so many more years. Although Rajon Rondo has proven to be the team’s primary catalyst against the Heat, he is still heavily supported by his veteran teammates, specifically the clutch shooting ability of Paul Pierce and the defensive capabilities of Kevin Garnett. However, Pierce is turning 35 in October and Garnett recently turned 36. Surely Garnett will continue to persevere, but Pierce’s age truly began to show against LeBron last year.

Pierce averaged 18 points per, but was held to abysmal shooting percentages: 34 percent from the field and 26 percent from beyond the arc. LeBron James, on the other hand, finished with averages of 33.6 points and 11 rebounds per, while shooting 53 percent from the field.

Boston may have replaced Ray Allen, but they still don’t have a defender who can compete with James. In fact, they may have allowed their only defensive hope walk away in the form of Pietrus. They’ll have to look forward to Pierce, Green and the slower Brandon Bass defending him, with Garnett sure to be busy attempting to corral Bosh.

Having LeBron James has an advantage is one thing, but not having one LeBron-stopper is another. The Celtics prepared poorly for this upcoming season, simply assuming that the comeback of Green or adding inexperienced and underachieving size would be enough to prevent LeBron from devastating the paint another year.

Boston and Miami may have created a rivalry without knowing it, but it’s going to be one-sided as long as the Celtics have the roster they currently have and LeBron James is on the Heat.


Tags: Lebron James Miami Heat

  • onesidedmuch?

    What? This must be one of those sites where fans can sign up to write “articles”. Whoever John Friel is, I hope he’s not getting paid for this.

    • John

      If you decide to write an argument, let me know and I gladly back up my stance.

      • David Stern

        I’ll write an argument. As an avid basketball fan I think your article is disingenuous. I’ve watched these two teams go at it the past 3 seasons and I’ve seen nothing that suggest when teams two teams much up it’s one-sided, just not. Even when James and Bosh joined Wade it has not been one-sided. The Heat and Celtics go at it intensely.

        First I’ll get into this manufactured rival with Miami and Chicago. There is no rivalry between these two clubs and never will be. There’ no question Chi is a great team, but they’re missing another second option superstar to pair with Wade. Now the Bulls bench has been dismantled for the upcoming 2013 season. The 2011 ECF match up MIA/CHI (4-1) was the same result of the 2011 ECSF BOS/MIA (4-1).

        In fairness Miami caught a break during the 2011 ECSF, because they faced a different Celtics team that was overhauled after all-star break. Also that Celtics roster was stacked with injuries and chemistry issues (Rondo, Shaq, West, Jermaine) so I think Miami got an easy break whether John or other Heat fans want to be realistic.

        You say one-sided? Here’s where you’re wrong or your being an homer not being honest with facts. Since the Lebron Heat era (2010-2012, the Heat have won 2x against BOS during the regular seasons.

        So much for being one sided. This other argument about who on Boston can guard Lebron. Look, no one in the league can guard Lebron, but I will say that Pierce is the only player that I’ve seen duel with him. You forgot to mention that Pierce had a sprained MCL that he got during the first round series against ATL, just saying.

        During the 2012 ECF I was a veteran Celtics depleted with injuries to the teeth and no business going 7 games with Miami. They did, because the Celtics are a core (team) where as the Heat solely based on Wade, James and Bosh.

        • John

          I probably worded that final sentence of the article the wrong way. Obviously by my numerous articles in respect to the Celtics, this is the scariest team the Heat could face out East. Even in this article, I made numerous references to when Boston challenged the Heat down to the wire.

          Don’t bother using the regular season argument. Doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs when it really matters.

          This Celtics team doesn’t worry me as much since I came to the realization that they don’t have anyone who can remotely stay with LeBron on the defensive end. Pierce is one year older, Green can’t defend and Garnett and Bass can’t keep up.

          Let’s not get into injuries, either, because it goes both ways.* Udonis Haslem didn’t even play last year against Boston and Bosh came back way too early in 2012. Injuries happen and the Heat were affected last year in a BIG way; they needed to rush Bosh back just to win Game 7.

          • http://twitter.com/GagaTheAvenger Josh Gaga

            Is this a joke? LeBron is sill a 3 quarter player, Garnett dominates Bosh without an issue, Ray Allen isnt very good anymore and gets injured too much, and with the new floppingrule, that takes away a HUGE part of miami’s game. Boston should be favored to win without a doubt. This article is clearly biased.