5-on-5: Playoffs, rotations, refs
Considering the recent wins over Miami, would the Celtics have been better off with the seventh seed, a first-round matchup with the Heat and a date with the Bulls no earlier than the conference finals?
* Hayes Davenport: I cannot believe I’m saying this, but yes: I’d love to take on the Heat in a playoff series right now. It’s like how you’re supposed to punch a guy in the face on your first day in jail: I’d prefer to confront Miami early, before they get their playoff rhythm going and while Boston still has some momentum from these recent victories. I’d also prefer to face Chicago as late as possible to increase the odds of one of their rotation players getting injured. Is that mean?
* Michael Pina: Yes, the Celtics have defeated the Heat in their last two meetings, but LeBron and Wade still make that team one of the league’s most formidable. What I’d really like to see is the Celtics catch Indiana for the third seed, play a beatable team like Orlando or Atlanta in the first round, meet Miami in the second round, and take things from there.
* Chris Forsberg: Earlier in the season, this absolutely seemed like the best plan of attack. But back then the Celtics were so inconsistent, it seemed like they needed some sort of gimmick in order to get through the playoffs. Now? Boston is playing like a legitimate contender and there’s no real reason to make things more difficult than they need to be. Yes, avoiding the Bulls for as long as possible remains in this team’s best interest, but there’s really no reason for a good team to desire a matchup with the defending Eastern Conference champions.
* Ryan DeGama: I’m torn. On one hand, I’ve no appetite for seven games of Wade and James hurling themselves into the paint and fouling out the entire Celtics frontcourt. On the other hand, Miami again appears vulnerable to Boston, and the Celtics could reframe the entire playoff picture if they take them down. I’m going to accept your offer, but only because there’s a decent chance Derrick Rose ends up battling injuries throughout the playoffs. It make sense for the C’s to take on Miami when they’re fresh and Chicago later, when Rose may be worn down or injured.
* Brian Robb: No. The way this team is playing right now, they shouldn’t be worrying who they are playing or when. Given the craziness of a condensed season, I’d take the slim chances Miami or Chicago is upset by the upstart Knicks in the second round, rather than guaranteeing myself a date with the Eastern Conference elite right out of the gate early. You’re likely going to have to go through both teams anyway, so making things easier in earlier rounds (with home court advantage) makes the most sense to me.
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