Celtics to face the Heat in Conference Finals: What to expect
Finally, the Eastern Conference Finals are set. The Boston Celtics knew that going against the Toronto Raptors was going to be a battle.
Now that we have gotten past that hill, Boston find themselves at the last step before heading to the NBA Finals, facing a mountain called the Miami Heat. Get ready for an East Coast war starting Tuesday night.
During the regular season, Boston had the upper hand winning 2 out of the 3 matchups. Let’s reminisce, shall we.
BOS 112 - MIA 93 Dec. 4 | “All Love from 7”
You might remember it as the game where Jaylen Brown went off for 31 points. It was just a couple days before Gordon Hayward returned from his fractured left hand that he suffered on November 9th.
The Celtics had been holding up the weight each night since then with an 8-4 record. Jaylen went 5-9 from three point land, 6-8 from the line and finished off blowing a kiss toward former teammate, Kelly Olynyk, after a made three [so cold].
He wasn’t the only one giving the Heat some sauce as Kemba Walker had 28 points, 7 assists and shot 54% from trey, 52% from the field.
The bench was significant as they formed together like Voltron and scored 24 points. Jayson Tatum had 19 points and got to the line making 5 out of 6 free throws.
Our defense was a major part of this win at keeping Miami at bay. Win or lose, Jimmy Butler is a name we're unfortunately going to be seeing alot of. As long as we keep our defense up to par and have multiple players in the high double digit figures as seen in this game, Jimmy can go for 37 and we can still get a win.
BOS 109 - MIA 101 Jan. 28 | “Gordon’s Heat Check”
The Celtics faced off with the Heat for the second time, and the first time in the infamous new year of 2020.
Once again, Boston was missing a starter. This time it was Jayson Tatum due to right groin strain. From the tip off to the final whistle, Boston was in cruise control.
It was the first time the Heat were given a loss at home by a team in the East and were kept at 37% shooting, a season-worst at home. Miami only shot 24% from beyond the arc and that was just another showcase of that world class Celtic defense being Miami's kryptonite.
The starters were all on point this game. Gordon Hayward had 29 points, 9 rebounds. Jaylen Brown added into the win with 25 points. Daniel Theis had a double-double in this game with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Kemba Walker had 16 points, 8 assists and Marcus was all over the floor who had 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Not to leave out the guys on the bench putting up 18 points.
The Heat kept fighting back but anytime that they went ahead in the score, Boston kept pushing ahead. Our top notch defense, our bench, multiple starters in double digits and a certain player leading the scoreboard have been persistent factors in beating the Miami Heat.
BOS 106 - MIA 112 Aug. 4 | “Payback in the Bubble”
Let’s just say a lot has happened since the last time these teams have seen each other. However, The Heat had the last and only laugh within the bubble seeding games against the Celtics.
Without Jimmy Butler, it didn't seem to be a problem for Miami. Bam Adebayo, who wasn’t really a force in the earlier first two games, had 21 points, 12 rebounds and was 11-18 from the line.
Duncan Robinson had a game. The New England native, who grew up watching the Celtics play at TD Garden, also had 21 points, and shot 50% from the floor.
The Celtics never had a lead after every quarter and gave up 16 turnovers. The starters were in double figures and the bench added 24 points with Enes Kanter shooting 5-6 from field goal range and getting 10 points. Sadly, our defense didn’t show up.
It’s as if Miami stole our defensive skill like in Space Jam because Boston was kept at 30% from downtown. Gordon Hayward had 15 points and Jaylen Brown had 18 points but were both combined 0-10 3PT.
Playoff Bound: Miami is Different
There must be something in the water down there in Orlando because Miami isn’t the same Miami we’ve played against in January.
Miami's team is like a slightly altered mirror image of Boston in these playoffs. How can this be? They’re the 5th seed in the East while the Celtics are 3rd going into the playoffs.
During the regular season, Boston was second in the league in defense, trailing behind Toronto [RIP]. This would be good news if considering the fact that Toronto was our last stop to the Finals.
Yet, in the NBA Playoffs, Miami who were ranked 15th in the league are now second in defense, trailing Boston.
The great news is that Boston has three players that are averaging at least 20 points per game and Marcus is hyping up the team in defensive rallies in every series.
Even though Miami is going to the Eastern Conference Finals 8-1, true Celtics fans would argue and say that Boston is also 8-1. The shot from Anunoby and the foul on Kemba and we had those games! Sorry… I digress, but you get what I’m talking about, we're evenly matched no matter how you look at it. But which team has the most playoff experience the last couple years? Exactly, we've been here before, just another job to handle.