Experts agree: C's prevail

April, 16, 2010
4/16/10
8:35
AM ET
ESPN GraphicExperts agree, the Celtics top the Heat.
Despite Boston's inconsistent and pedestrian play since Christmas, few pundits appear to be betting against them in the postseason -- at least in the first round.

All 10 of ESPN's NBA experts picked the Celtics to top the Heat in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. But none of the experts think it will be particularly easy as all 10 have the series going at least six games.

Your humble blogger's not-so expert take? Celtics in 5.

Crazy you say? Sure, the Celtics have given few signs that they are even capable of winning four games in a five-game stretch lately. The Green did boast two four-game winning streaks in March, which suggest it's at least possible for them to string together a handful of wins.

But, more than anything, I think this team needs to win in five games or less in order to give it some confidence heading into a second-round matchup against the Cavaliers. If Boston struggles against the Heat and limps into the second round after yet another grueling, seven-game series, it might be a swift second-round exit.

On the other hand, if Boston makes short work of Miami and convinces itself that maybe -- just maybe -- they are flipping some sort of switch, then maybe that sends them up to Cleveland oozing the swagger the 2009-10 regular season lacked.

As the Kevin Garnett adidas ads reminds us, "Impossible is nothing." You might remember my friend, Szymon, spent about 12 hours trying to simulate a Celtics championship when ESPN.com first debuted its Playoff Predictor earlier this month. Once the bracket was finalized, he gave it another go, and said he go the image below in seven tries.

A Celtics-Bobcats clash in the Eastern Conference Finals. Whoddathunkit?


Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9