The Boston Celtics take on the Miami Heat tomorrow night in Miami for the season opener. The Celtics gave the Heat all they could handle last season and were even up 3-2 in the series with Game 6 in Boston. Lebron James went off in that game and the Heat hung on in Game 7 to eventually win the NBA Finals over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As the teams square off tomorrow night, the Celtics will need to figure out a way to contain James, which is obviously easier said than done. Paul Pierce will have most of the burden covering James and he has typically done pretty well against him over the years. Pierce is one of the few players in the league who can match-up with James’ strength and quickness. I am not saying Pierce is the same player as James is, but he does match-up with him well and has typically performed well against him in one on one defensive situations.
Pierce will need to make James become strictly a jump shooter tomorrow night. James and Dwayne Wade are at their best when attacking the hoop and the Celtics will no doubt live with James taking outside jumpers all game. Last year in Game 6 he killed them with perimeter shots, but that was just one of those days where he was on and nothing would miss. If he does that again head coach Doc Rivers will have nothing else to do other than to tip his cap off to him.
James is not a great jump shooter and can be as streaky as they come. He is one of the greatest ever in terms of driving to the hoop and initiating contact. The Celtics can combat that as well as any team because of their excellent help side defense, but they would obviously prefer a safer game plan that has him mostly on the perimeter.
Pierce will have his hands full tomorrow night and will do the best he can to limit James’ touches. He will need help though from the entire team and you can bet Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Celtics are ready to get going.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18