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The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics have built up a bit of a rivalry these past few years. They’ve split their last two matchups in the Conference Finals, starting with the 2020 bubble and ending with last year’s playoffs.
These two teams know each other well and the key players at the top have been putting on some historic performances.
Keys To The Series:
Saying a team has to stop Jimmy Butler has been a recurring theme this postseason. The Celtics need to find a way to do it without double-teaming him. Marcus Smart should get the bulk of the assignment, but I believe Jaylen Brown and others could see some action on that front.
Stopping Jimmy Butler with one defender limits the plays he can make outside of scoring.
The Celtics can’t let Miami rack up the free throw attempts. Boston tends to commit silly fouls, especially when their opponents are in the middle of a run. They have to play a bit smarter in this round especially to keep some of their main weapons on the floor.
Miami has to shoot better than 42% from the field and 30% from downtown. Boston is a team that can fill up the scoreboard quickly. The Heat have to match them scoring wise or this series will be over in a heartbeat.
Much like the last series, the Heat will have to tame Boston on the boards. When the Celtics get second chance points, they are back breaking buckets that usually extend runs. The Heat must stop Boston on both sides of the rebounding battle.
Jaylen Brown can’t be accounted for if Jayson Tatum is garnering as much attention as we all expect. He should have nothing but one-on-one matchups throughout the series and he needs to exploit them to the fullest.
Can Bam Adebayo take another step up and become a historically great NBA big man? The Celtics will probably throw a few different bodies at him, none of which are his equal. He’s going to have to play big if Miami is going to have a legitimate shot.
The Celtics have more than enough firepower on offense, but the fight in Butler and company don’t make this easy. I’ll take Boston to win in a long battle.
Boston wins the series in seven games.