The 2012 Eastern Conference Finals features the last two Eastern Conference champions: the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. The series tips on Monday, so get to a TV for the Game 1 scheduled start time at 8:30 p.m. ET in Miami.
Miami is considered by most to be the overwhelming favorite against Boston even without one-third of its Big Three, Chris Bosh. See, the Heat still have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Celtics counter with puppeteer Rajon Rondo manipulating the marionettes of an aging cast of future NBA Hall of Famers.
The Celtics needed seven games to dispatch the eighth-seeded Sixers. "Survive and advance" took near-literal meaning during an ugly series in which the Celtics defense carried the team to the second round. That defense will be needed against James and Wade.
Speaking of the Heat's big two, James and Wade are scary right now. LeBron is averaging 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game in the playoffs. Typical. Wade averaged 33 points per game over the last three games of the Pacers-Heat series. Beast. On top of that, the Heat's defense has been one of the stingiest in the NBA Playoffs. So ... what weakness do you exploit to beat Miami?
A trip to the NBA Finals is on the line. In the words of Kevin Garnet: "Let's do it."