Heading into the highly anticipated season opener, no one was quite sure what to expect from Miami and their new Big Three. They also weren't sure what to expect from the original Big Three, and how a pair of O'Neals would perform in Boston.
We all know how that one ended. The Celtics exposed the weaknesses in the Heat's chemistry, and came away with an 88-80 victory in Boston. Since then, the Heat have corrected those mistakes made against the Celtics and have pulled together to become a 5-3 basketball team. They still aren't perfect, but a win over the C's will prove their weight in a strong conference.
If you search for predictions regarding the 2010-11 NBA playoffs, nine times out of 10 you'll find Boston and Miami sparring in the Eastern Conference Finals, with most analysts taking Miami to championship. Boston holds the Eastern Conference crown from last season, however, and taking two from Miami early in the season will prove they're not ready to relinquish that title.
Or is there another Eastern Conference contender on the horizon? No matter who wins the game on Thursday night, Orlando is still near the top the Eastern Conference standings with a 5-2 record. Perhaps they are the true beast of the East.
So what conclusions can be taken away from this November matchup between Boston and Miami? Is it safe to say the outcome will determine which team is the front-runner in the Eastern Conference, or is it still too early to tell?