From the moment LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat, one question surfaced immediately: how will the revamped Heat deal with the veteran Celtics?
In the regular season, the answer was not well. Boston won the first three meetings with Miami (88-80 on Oct. 26, 112-107 on Nov. 11, 85-82 on Feb. 13) before the Heat posted a strong 100-77 victory over the C's in the final game of their regular season series.
Now, the Heat will have the chance to answer that question where it matters most of all: the playoffs. With Boston sweeping the New York Knicks and Miami winning the series 3-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, the Celtics and Heat will clash in one of the most anticipated playoff series in recent memory.
The series begins on Sunday afternoon in South Beach. Here's a look at the complete series schedule.
2011 NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference Semifinals - Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Game 1: Sun., May 1 in Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Game 2: Tue., May 3 in Miami, Time TBD, TNT
Game 3: Sat., May 7 in Boston, 8:00 p.m., ABC
Game 4: Mon., May 9 in Boston, Time TBD, TNT
Game 5*: Wed., May 11 in Miami, Time TBD, TNT
Game 6*: Fri., May 13 in Boston, Time TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Mon., May 16 in Miami, 8:00 p.m., TNT
* if necessary
Boston and Miami met in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, with the Celtics taking care of business in five games. Of course, the Heat's top two players at that point were Dwayne Wade and Jermaine O'Neal.
Both teams have won NBA Championship titles recently, with the Heat besting the Mavericks back in 2006 (a team that had current Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal on it) and the Celtics beating the Lakers in six games to claim their record 17th NBA title back in 2008.
In 2009-10, the Celtics returned to the NBA Finals to face the rival Lakers, but were ultimately bested in seven games.
Miami averaged 102.1 points per game in the regular season while Boston averaged 96.5 points. The Heat also had the edge in rebounding, averaging 42.1 boards to the Celtics' 38.8 rebounds. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Celtics held to advantage in assists per game, averaging 23.4 dimes, while Miami averaged an even 20 assists.