It’s fitting that the Celtics player who tormented the Heat the most this season is the one most openly bullish about his team’s chances in these Eastern Conference Finals.
“We feel we can beat Miami,” point guard Rajon Rondo said, undaunted by the Heat’s 4-1 series win against the Celtics in last year’s second round. “Obviously, we got to this point. There is no doubt in my mind that we can. Last year is in the past. This year, we are a totally different team.”
Rondo averaged 18.7 points, 13.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds in three games against the Heat this season.
“We know we are capable of going into their building and getting the win,” forward Paul Pierce told Boston media. “But they’re a different team. They’re in a playoff mind-set now. They are going to be a lot more difficult.”
Celtics center Kevin Garnett said: “The Heat are playing well. They beat a very tough Indiana team. I think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are playing at high levels. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We definitely don’t like the way we left last year, so we’ll see what happens.”
The Heat beat the visiting Celtics in an early season matchup, 115-107, but lost the next three meetings: 91-72, April 1 in Boston; Erik Spoelstra 115-107 on April 10 in Miami; and 78-66 on April 24 in Boston. Wade, James, Chris Bosh, Rondo, Garnett and Allen sat out that last game.
This and thatShane Battier
James said: “They’ve got a championship team and championship coach. … They’re very competitive, and I love playing against them.”Mario Chalmers