Eastern Conference Finals Preview & Prediction

by JoeYancey

Boston Celtics Vs. Miami Heat Preview

Regular Season Matchups

DateHomeRoadResult
March 30, 2022BostonMiamiHeat 106 – Celtics 98
January 31, 2022BostonMiamiCeltics 122 – Heat 92
November 4, 2022MiamiBostonCeltics 95 – Heat 78

The Boston Celtics took the season series two games to one, with both wins coming in blowouts. The Heat won the most recent matchup. Is there anything to learn from the regular season series? There are small takeaways, but both teams are different now, especially the Miami Heat.

The Boston Celtics enter the Eastern Conference Finals on a high, off an emotional series with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, draining that may have been, Boston will need to dig deep and get ready for what many, (myself included) feel is the deepest team in the league. The following Celtics players regularly logged 35 + minutes/game in the series against Milwaukee: Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown.

By contrast, no one on the Miami Heat logged 35 minutes in game 5 versus Philadelphia, and the Heat have been off, resting since Thursday, May 12th. The Heat will again be without point guard Kyle Lowry, which is a problem if backup, Gabe Vincent is not productive or gets into foul trouble. Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra is one of the best at play-calling and half court offensive setting and positioning, but the Heat will need someone to consistently bring the ball up court. Active hands from defensive studs Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart will make it tough to move freely in open space, meaning Gabe Vincent, with Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro will have to be cautious trying to get the ball over half court.

My pick:

My gut tells me The Boston Celtics win this series in 7 games, but my mind is saying the Miami Heat have too much depth. The Celtics won a hard-fought series against the Khris Middleton-less Milwaukee Bucks. While Middleton had not played his best basketball against the Chicago Bulls in this previous series, they did not need him too. The absence of Milwaukee’s second-best player was clear. The C’s needed superhuman games from Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and finally in game 7, Grant Williams to close the series at home.

The Miami Heat are much better than people think they are. They are playing with no pressure, and minimal expectations. Miami’s depth allows for injuries to key players like Kyle Lowry or foul trouble to key contributors. The Celtics do not have this same margin of error. The Heat have plenty of defensive disposables to throw at Jayson Tatum. Expect PJ Tucker to foul out at least one game exhausting Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the process. The same treatment James Harden and Trae Young got, is what Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will receive. For this reason, my pick is…

Miami Heat in 7.

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