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After a strange, interrupted season, a bubble and some surprising early exits, we are down to the last two teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are traditionally very different teams but this time around they’re more similar than you think.
We know all about the style, glitz and glamour of Miami but don’t tell that to this Heat team. They more resemble their working class opponent from Boston. Both teams are very similar in style of play in the way they get after it.
They challenge you on defense, come to work with hard hats on and exude grit. These two teams come in extremely confident and highly motivated. If you are a pure basketball fan, you will be in for a treat watching this series. So grab some popcorn and a comfortable seat to enjoy it.
Keys To The Game:
On offense, Miami likes to spread the floor, use the pick and roll and get the best shot possible. This has been very effective for them, especially Goran Dragic. He has been deadly efficient shooting the ball. Jimmy Butler has been the stabilizing force and Bam Adebayo is blossoming into a nightmare matchup.
Add in Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson’s outside sniping to keep defenses honest and this team presents a myriad of problems. Don’t forget Kelly Olynyk’s saavy play off the bench. They have a lot of ways to hurt you on offense.
On defense, they have two chiseled veterans who set the tone with Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder. Adebayo protects the basket as the last line of defense. Butler will not back down from a challenge or any player.
Boston works more off isolation on offense. When you have elusive players like Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, you understand why. Marcus Smart has been a revelation on offense, specifically from three point range. They have also gotten unlikely contributions off the bench from Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker.
The x-factor could be the return of Gordon Hayward, who missed the entire second round series against Toronto with a sprained ankle. He could give the Celtics another weapon the Heat have to account for.
The Celtics on defense have been just as stingy. Daniel Theis has been solid in the middle for Boston. Smart has been an absolute menace on defense, getting timely deflections and steals. He is the glue. Their effectiveness is in their ability to switch and guard multiple positions between Smart, Tatum and Brown.
Matchup To Watch:
With all the wing talent on both sides of the ball, this matchup could be decided by Bam Adebayo versus Daniel Theis. Although they impact their team’s success in different ways, they are indicators for how their team is performing.
Both are responsible for rim protecting and rebounding but don’t underestimate their contributions on offense. Both teams become really effective when they are actively involved offensively. Whichever player gets it going on offense will give his team a huge advantage.
Miami will make this a long, tough series but I like Boston’s versatility on defense and more options on offense. Boston in seven.