The NBA playoffs are down to their final two teams in Eastern Conference as a trip to the NBA Finals is on the line in this beat-of-seven series. The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat will battle it out to see who will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
The Celtics are fresh off a Game 7 win over the defending Champion Toronto Raptors to advance to the East Finals for the third time in the last four years. As for the Heat, they took down the big dogs in the NBA which were the Milwaukee Bucks in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2014.
The Celtics could get injured star Gordon Hayward back at some point this series potentially as he recovers from an ankle injury, but let's keep in mind that he will leave the bubble again if and when his wife has their child. Hayward has said publicly that he will leave to be with his wife during that time. However, if nd when Hayward is ready to go, he could absolutely help the Celtics on both sides of the court as the Celtics struggled to get offensive and defensive rebounds against the Raptors.
The Heat are being lead by Jimmy Butler, who is on his third team in four seasons, after spending the first six years of his career with the Chicago Bulls. Butler has silently put together a very good season, and has been Miami's best player since the NBA restart began. The Celtics will have a tough time trying to defend Butler as he has averaged 21.8 points per game making him a tough opponent.
The Celtics also got a few guys the are tough to defend against as well in the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart. All four of these players are extremely difficult to defend. The Raptors did shut down Walker in three of the final fours games in the Semi-Finals round but, Tatum, Brown and Smart all kept Toronto on their toes.
The last time the Celtics and Heat met in the Conference Finals, Doc Rivers was still the Head Coach of the Celtics prior to his departure following the 2012-2013 season, while the Heat have stuck with Eric Spoelstra through all the rough seasons after their four-year Finals run.
The Celtics are in for yet another tough and physical series with the Miami, who's confidence is sky high after their upset series win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Jimmy Butler will give the Celtics problems on the offensive side of the court, but will have to deal former Celtic Kelly Olynyk whose size up near the glass will make it difficult for the Celtics to generate some offensive rebounds.
The Celtics struggled at the three point line in games six and seven against the Raptors, but the three point shits will have to be the Celtics best friend in this series if they want to try to go on runs and keeping the pressure on the Heat to counter.
With the young leadership combined between Tatum, Brown and Smart, the Celtics should be able to power their way through this series, which will go the distance again, and earn themselves a spot in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.