Get ready for a brutal series.

This is what we have been waiting for since LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade and it figures to be a physical emotional rollercoaster for both teams and fans alike.

The Celtics are a seasoned unit and seem to be focused for the marathon to come, but I believe they got lucky when Chauncey Billups and Amare Stoudemire got derailed because of injuries in the first round.

A healthy Knick team would have made it a longer and more competitive matchup, taxing the Celtics thin frontline. But great play from perimeter players Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo made it too difficult for the beat-up Knicks to make a series out of it.

The Heat was challenged despite beating Philadelphia 4-1. The critics are questioning Miami's consistency and execution on offense, but you must give Philly credit. They are a young, quick and explosive team. The Celtics are the exact opposite... They are plodders that will walk the ball up court and give a very good defensive team like the Heat a chance to defend every possession.

The Heat should have a distinctive advantage in the categories of steals, loose balls and fast break points.

Miami's perimeter defense will obviously be challenged by Allen, Pierce and Rondo, but I like the defensive skills of James and Wade to force that trio into a poor shooting series.

Therefore the pressure lies with Kevin Garnett against Chris Bosh. If Bosh matches Garnett’s production, that will give the Heat a huge advantage. I think it will happen.

If Wade and LeBron attack the paint (despite the expected hard fouls), they will dominate this series and that will lead to a big disparity as far as free throws and points in the paint.

This series will be brutal and at times downright ugly, but that’s why we will sit down and watch every excruciating minute.

KEYS

The Heat will win if...

- LeBron James and Dwyane Wade continuously attack the rim and do not settle for jump shots.

- Win the intangible game, loose balls, offensive rebounds and steals.

- Get good production out of Chris Bosh against Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics will win if...

- Ray Allen and Paul Pierce continue to be lights out on the perimeter.

- Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal and Glen Davis control the paint defensively and stay out of foul trouble.

- Control tempo and keep it at a snails pace.

PREDICTION

- I picked the Heat at the start of the season and I am not wavering. I think their best is yet to come. Heat will win in seven games.

SCHEDULE: May 1, May 3, May 7, May 9, May 11, May 13 and May 16 / Boston won the regular season series 3-1.

REST OF SERIES: CHI - ATL / LAL - DAL / OKC - MEM

2. MIAMI HEAT

3. BOSTON CELTICS

50

Joel Anthony

C

Data

G

Ray Allen

20

0

Mike Bibby

G

G

Carlos Arroyo

45

1

Chris Bosh

F

102.1

Points scored

96.6

F-C

Glen Davis

11

15

Mario Chalmers

G

94.6

Points allowed

91.1

F

Kevin Garnett

5

25

Erick Dampier

C

48.1

Field Goal %

48.6

F

Jeff Green

8

40

Udonis Haslem

F

37.0

3 pt. FG %

36.5

C

Nenad Krstic

4

55

Eddie House

G

76.9

Free Throw %

77.0

C-F

Jermaine O'Neal

7

5

Juwan Howard

F

42.1

Rebounds

38.8

C

Shaquille O'Neal

36

11

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

C

20.0

Assists

23.4

G-F

Aleksandar Pavlovic

77

6

LeBron James

F

5.2

Blocks

4.2

F

Paul Pierce

34

22

James Jones

F

6.6

Steals

8.2

G

Rajon Rondo

9

13

Mike Miller

F

13.9

Turnovers

14.6

G

Von Wafer

12

3

Dwyane Wade

G

694

Accumulated playoff games

911

G

Delonte West

13

TEAM LEADERS

LeBron James

26.7

Points

18.9

Paul Pierce

Chris Bosh

8.3

Rebounds

8.9

Kevin Garnett

LeBron James

7.0

Assists

11.2

Rajon Rondo

Joel Anthony

1.2

Blocks

1.2

Jermaine O'Neal

LeBron James

1.5

Steals

2.2

Rajon Rondo