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LEBRON’S HEAT HOPE TO SOLVE CELTICS JINX

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It’s a series that has seem almost inevitable since the start of the season and it’ll finally get underway on Saturday as LeBron James and the Miami Heat take on the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. The Celtics became a foil in the side of James last year while he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers and that’s continued this season as Boston dominated head to head play during the regular season against LeBron’s new team, the Miami Heat. When LeBron announced his now infamous ‘decision’ to move to South Florida, it quickly became apparent that Miami would have to get past Boston if they had any hope of winning the Eastern Conference—let alone the NBA title. And although LeBron may have more big name talent around him with the Heat, the task of eliminating the Celtics won’t be any easier. Miami didn’t exactly look like a dominating championship level team in their first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, though they did eliminate them in five games to advance. The Heat often looked distracted—not surprising with this matchup on deck—and LeBron James angered the Sixers by suggesting that they were merely a ‘tune up’ for the real job ahead in later rounds. Philadelphia only won a single game, but they did a good job defending LeBron throughout—Andrew Iguodala in particular. The bad news for LeBron is that everything Igoudala can do against him Paul Pierce can do even better. Pierce is among the best wing defenders in the NBA and he’s given LeBron trouble every time the Celtics provide the opposition. The Celtics, meanwhile, are trying to say the right things but it’s apparent that they’re very comfortable—bordering on cocky—heading into this series. Doc Rivers didn’t sound especially intimidated by the challenge of facing Miami: "We assumed when they put this team together that, if we wanted to put another banner up, we’d probably have to go through them. So it’s official. And that’s good." Paul Pierce tried to remind everyone that despite the hype it’s just a second round matchup: "I know there's going to be a lot of hype around it, like it's a championship series, but you've got to understand it's still just the second round. But a very big second round because you've got two potential teams that can win it all. I'm excited. This is a great stage for basketball. It's going to be great for fans and the guys that we have here love these type of series. “ "We knew it was going to probably eventually happen at one point or another. Before the season if we were going to where we needed to be as a championship team we knew we were going to have to play Miami. So it's finally here and I'm sure it's the much-anticipated battle everybody's been waiting on." Whether LeBron can finally solve the Celtics and advance remains to be seen, but in Game 1 the points are obviously the play. There’s some concern that the Celtics may have had too long of a layoff between games, but given their success against LeBron and the Heat we’ll take the points and won’t be surprised if Boston goes up 1-0 with an outright win.