They danced around the topic for days, neither the Miami Heat nor the Boston Celtics wanting to say they were hoping to face off in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

No need for caution anymore.

The matchup the Heat, the Celtics — and probably most of the NBA — wanted to see is going to happen.

Celtics forward Paul Pierce says even before the season began, Boston knew just it was "going to have to play Miami" in the playoffs if it was going to win a championship. And Heat guard Dwyane Wade says his team is looking forward for the opportunity to pair its "Big 3" of himself, LeBron James and Chris bosh against Boston's long-established star triumvirate of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Game 1 is Sunday in Miami.