It’s time for the Eastern Conference Finals. And as we know, the Miami Heat will face off against the now top-seeded Celtics. With wins against the top two seeded teams going into the playoffs (Bucks and Raptors). We’re all shocked to see that the Miami Heat have made it to the conference finals, since their pre-season rankings had them ranging from 7th to 9th place in the East. Nevertheless, the hungry and meticulous Brad Stevens will hope to assert his dominance over the former two time NBA champion in Erik Spoelstra. Let’s get into this.
Both teams are coming into this series with at least two All-Star quality players: Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker (BOS), Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo (MIA). The best player award out of the four may have to go to Jayson Tatum, although Butler’s defense and leadership ability could boost him (Butler) to be the most effective player in certain situations.
A return from Gordon Hayward will help Boston out in the depth department, while Miami’s can stand near the top of the list as the deepest squad in the NBA. Both teams love to play defense, but the three-point edge goes to Miami who is shooting just under 38% from beyond the arc this year.
Look for Bam Adebayo to play an integral role in this series, as he’s the most versatile big on both teams.
Keys To Win
Let’s not get it twisted, these are two heavily defensive squads. Making shots will be the major key in this series. We expect this one to go to 7 games, and Boston’s 1.8% edge on Miami at the free throw line could potentially be a big difference maker down the stretch. Depth shouldn’t be an issue for either squad, so it’s possible that star power could win out. If I had to choose between Tatum and Walker or Butler and Adebayo, I’d go with the latter.
Jaylen Brown‘s offensive consistency will be a major factor for the success of the Celtics, as well as solid all-around play from Theis and Smart. Miami should look to put up a plethora of three pointers, as they have shooters in the starting lineup as well as the bench.
At this point, it’s tough to say which team will have a true advantage in any single category. These two squads play are built similarly and play with some of the same underdog grit. If the LA Clippers do in fact win Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets, we’ll all be in for a treat throughout both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.