Is the third time the charm? The key to Celtics' success in the Eastern Conference Finals
For the third time within 10 years the Celtics battle with the Heat in a fight for the Conference title. In the first two finals, the Heat got the best of the Celtics and won by a narrow margin in six and seven games. Now the Conference title and a place in the NBA final is on the line again. Once again defense could be the key to success.
During the regular season, Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat faced each other three times with the score being 2-1 for the Celtics. Going into the last games of the playoff series the bookmakers are still not sure who will go to the promised land and get the opportunity to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy. If you want to see the odds and try online betting, you can find plenty of bookmakers online offering a variety of bets. Considering this it may look as like the last playoff games will be a real close battle right down to the wire. Let’s look at some of the parameters that might turn out title-deciding in this epic rivalry.
If They Don’t Score We Can’t Lose
Defenses win games. During the regular season, the Boston Celtics were ranked as the best defending team by only allowing 104,5 opponent points per game. In the three regular season outings between the Heat and the Celtics, the team from Miami only averaged 92 points per game. This showed that the Celtics could keep their rivals down with a strong defensive showing.
One of the keys to their recent defensive success is that Robert Williams has been moved to an off-ball helper, instead of defending point guards. This has led to him being one of the top blockers in the league and with his fierce athleticism and pace, he is a constant defensive threat to any opposing player. With Marcus Smart on the hustle, this team has one of the best defending lines in the league. Facing NBA All-star Jimmy Butler and this year's Sixth Man of the Year, Tyler Herro, top performances from the two is needed.
Breaking Through the Heats Lines
The Heat on the other hand was the fourth-placed defensive team during the regular season. They have started this year’s playoffs by only allowing 94 points per game during the first part rounds. The Conference final may very well be decided by the best defense, but at the same time, it is important to have someone who can break down defensive lines. Therefore players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need to bring their a-game. If Grant Williams can chip in with more performances like in their Game 7 demolition of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics could be en route to a memorable season. The Heat's defense on the other hand is not packed with a defensive star lineup, and they are relying on strong collective efforts, which have brought them this far.
Let's hope for another strong performance in TD Garden, that will take our beloved Boston Celtics one step closer to becoming the most successful NBA team once again.