Without a doubt, we have seen some of the greatest players in NBA history play for the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Guys like Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning are synonymous with the Heat, while Larry Bird and Bill Russell are considered the greatest Celtics ever. As a result, it will be extremely interesting to watch the greatest Heat and Celtics play each other. By setting them up to face each other head to head, we can truly find out which franchise had the better all-time players.
For the All-Time Heat, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will headline a monster duo with the likes of Chris Bosh and Alonzo Mourning in the post. Tim Hardaway provides the playmaking and point guard intangibles to push the pace of play. For the All-Time Celtics, Bird and McHale will be almost impossible to slow down and they will be backed by arguably the greatest defensive player ever in Bill Russell. Bob Cousy and John Havlicek provide superstar scoring ability to complete an astonishing lineup of 5 Hall of Famers.
The game will ultimately come down to timely buckets by superstar players, and a small run at the end of the game led by two of the most clutch players in NBA history. Here is how it plays out.
Point Guard: Tim Hardaway vs. Bob Cousy
LeBron will take turns bringing the ball up on makes, but Hardaway will be the primary playmaker for the Heat and Cousy for the Celtics.
Hardaway will do a masterful job of pushing the pace and finding guys for easy shots. He will finish in the lane with explosiveness and break a few ankles in the process. There are few players in NBA history who have Hardaway’s handles, so matching him with Cousy will be exciting to watch. Cousy might have the better overall game, because of his aggressive style of play and ability to distribute the ball like a bonafide superstar.
Both guys will get their numbers surely, but Cousy will have the advantage because of the chemistry with Bill Russell and his desire to win the matchup.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade vs. John Havlicek
Dwyane Wade might be the greatest Heat player in history for what he achieved for the franchise. He put forth an inhuman effort to capture the franchise’s first NBA title and won two more with the Big Three alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Wade, at his peak, was a superstar and one of the best players in the game. His slashing ability and lockdown defense will be critical in the matchup with Havlicek, who will be slightly bothered by Wade’s athleticism.
Havlicek is easily one of the best Celtics ever and is renowned for his ability to score and rebound, giving the Celtics a massive boost with his size and intangibles. But Wade will be a major factor for Miami, using his skill and speed to get to where he wants on the floor.
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Larry Bird
The premier matchup is between the two greatest small forwards to have ever played, LeBron James and Larry Bird.
Many argue between them as to who is number one, but it is safe to say that the slight majority will vote for LeBron James. James is simply the most gifted athlete in history with his size and athleticism, and he combines that with the ability to read the game better than anyone on the floor. LeBron will get his usual 28-8-8, and be the man who sparks a massive 3rd quarter run that will give Miami the lead entering the fourth.
Bird does not have LeBron’s physical gifts, but he is a damn great shooter and a clutch one at that. Bird will be quiet for most of the game, although aggressive on the boards, but will come to life and hit the biggest shots in the game. LeBron wins the battle by outplaying him over 48 minutes, but Bird will have the final say in the war.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh vs. Kevin McHale
This matchup will come down to grit and grind. Bosh is a finesse player who will get his shots off early, but McHale will slow it down to the Celtics favor. His post-game is surreal, and he will be a machine in the second quarter to tie the game at half time. McHale, quite frankly, might be the most unstoppable low-post presence ever.
Chris Bosh is an All-Star and future Hall of Fame player, but McHale is on another level. He is simply too powerful and skilled down low, making Bosh work too hard on defense. Bosh will hold his own with his jump shooting, but McHale has the advantage in this game because his partnership with the great Bill Russell will be too much to handle.
Center: Alonzo Mourning vs. Bill Russell
Finally, the center position. Mourning is one of the most passionate and dominant defensive players ever, but this is Bill Russell he is up against. Mourning generally had his way with most opposing centers in his day, using his shot-blocking and strength to bully players. But Russell is on another level defensively and quite possibly the greatest leader at his position.
Mourning will hold Russell to only 12 points, but the latter will be far too dominant for either Mourning or Bosh to handle. Nobody played post defense like Bill Russell, and his defensive leadership will come through in the end.
This will be a close game all night long since there are multiple Hall of Famers who affect the game in many different ways. The first quarter will end with hot shooting on both sides before Wade and LeBron turn on the afterburner. They will slash their way to quick points to start the game and run Boston off the floor in the first quarter. Havlicek and Cousy lead the charge for Boston, but Wade and LeBron’s athleticism gives them the lead 38-30 after the first.
The second quarter is more of the same, except Kevin McHale goes crazy. He drops 14 big points to tie the game up 60-60 at half time, with Russell being a rock on the inside. Boston slows the game down and prevents easy baskets for Miami, as they get outscored 22-30 in the second.
The third quarter is all LeBron James. With Larry Bird surprisingly quiet so far, he takes advantage and finishes with 10 points and 5 assists in the quarter alone. LeBron takes over playmaking duties, finding Bosh and Mourning for mid-range jumpers when he attacks the rim. A three by James and another one by Wade gives the Heat a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left in the third. Their chemistry is surreal and they feed off each other’s explosiveness. Havlicek and Cousy once again fight back, as the Celtics enter the fourth quarter down by 6.
The fourth quarter is where the Celtics will play the best basketball of the game. With only a 6 point deficit, Larry Bird comes to life offensively. He hits the first two threes in the game, the second one coming off of a Bill Russell find in the corner off an offensive rebound. Bill Russell and Larry Bird continue their dominance, the former contesting and cleaning up three straight misses at the rim by LeBron and Bosh. Cousy and Bird hit jumpers, and Wade gets his shot blocked by Russell leading to a Havlicek finish on the break. The Celtics managed to stretch the lead out to 10 points.
Bosh hits a couple of late jumpers, but Boston is simply too stacked with Hall of Famers at each position and they dominate the 4th quarter in convincing fashion. Bill Russell earns the MVP for the game due to his critical late-game stops and the Celtics win a hotly contested matchup.
Final Score: All-Time Boston Celtics vs. All-Time Miami Heat 110-102