The NBA is set up with a very exciting day of basketball on September 15 as the Conference Finals open up. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics will meet to kick off the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. These two teams will look to push the pace of the series with an early Game 1 win. This game will tip off at around 6:30 PM Eastern time.
The Heat finished out the regular season with a record of 44-29, which put them in fifth place of the Eastern Conference. Miami dominated the Indiana Pacers in the first round, eliminating them in four games. Then the Heat upset the Milwaukee Bucks in an impressive five game series. Miami will look to keep up this magical run with a win on Tuesday night.
Boston earned a record of 48-24 throughout the regular season, which had them finish in third place of the East. The Celtics met up with the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round and eliminated them in four games. Boston then faced the Toronto Raptors in the second round, where they knocked them out in seven games. The Celtics played more recently, which could give them a faster start in this one.
These two teams have dominated throughout their playoff runs to make impressive appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat knocked off the Eastern Conference leader Bucks, while Boston had a solid win against the defending NBA Champions in the previous round. Look for both teams to build off that momentum early in Game 1 of this series.
Miami and Boston met up three times throughout the regular season. The Celtics hosted the first game back on December 4. Jimmy Butler dropped 37 points for the Heat, but it was not enough. Kemba Walker put up 28 points, while Jaylen Brown finished with 31 points. Jayson Tatum earned another 19 points as Boston won 112-93 at home.
The second game of the season series was in Miami on January 28. Goran Dragic finished with 23 points off the bench, while Jimmy Butler scored 20 points. The Heat still fell short though. Gordan Hayward scored 29 points, while Jaylen Brown dropped 25 points. The Celtics starting lineup combined for 91 points as Boston earned a 109-101 win on the road.
The third and most recent game of the season series was during the seeding games on August 4. Jayson Tatum scored 23 points and Jaylen Brown scored 18 points and 10 assists. Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson both scored 21 points for the Heat. Goran Dragic dropped another 20 points off the bench as the Heat won 112-106.
These two teams met up plenty throughout the regular season, which should give them a good feel for each other coming into this series. The Celtics were able to take two of the three games during the regular season, but Miami won the matchup in the bubble. I expect both teams to really try and set the pace early though as they look for a big Game 1 win.
Field Goal Shooting
Miami has been doing well shooting throughout the playoffs. The Heat have made around 46.1 percent of their shots from the field, which is sixth out of the original sixteen playoff teams. Miami has also made 38 percent of their shots from deep, which is third overall in the postseason this season. The Heat will look for their offense to keep rolling against Boston.
The Celtics have not been great when it comes to shooting throughout this postseason. Boston has made 46.1 percent of their shots from the field, which is worst in the remaining playoff teams. The Celtics have also made only 34.1 percent of their shots from behind the arc, which is fourth worst of the original sixteen playoff teams.
Boston’s defense has been a big reason why they have made it so far in the postseason. The Celtics held Philadelphia to 100.5 points per game and the Raptors to 99.7 points per game. Boston held both teams to shooting percentages less than 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep. The Celtics will look to attack the Heat’s offense as they meet up in Game 1.
Jimmy Butler has had a nice postseason, averaging 22 points per game, while Goran Dragic has averaged 21 points per game in the playoffs. Bam Adebayo has averaged 16 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Tyler Herro is averaging 14.5 points per game off the bench, while Jae Crowder has averaged 13 points per game. Duncan Robinson helps round out the lineup, averaging 10.5 points per game.
Jayson Tatum has led the Celtics by averaging 25.5 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Jaylen Brown has averaged 21 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while Kemba Walker is averaging 19.5 points and 5.5 assists per game. Marcus Smart has averaged 13 points per game as well to help round out the lineup.
These two teams have seen a nice spread of scoring throughout the playoffs. Gordon Hayward could make his return in this series as well, which would really help Boston’s lineup. The Heat though have a nice spread of two way players that can play the Celtics game. I expect Butler and Tatum to come out quickly in this one as they try and set the pace for their respective team.
These two teams have played great so far in this postseason, but it has been the Heat that have stood out more to me. Miami dominated the Bucks in the last round, even before Giannis Antetokounmpo went out with injury. I expect the Heat to come out in this series with the same intensity as they try and earn a huge Game 1 win.
BetOnline has Boston listed as a -120 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Celtics will win this game around 54.6 percent of the time. I believe this game should be even. Miami had some extra time off in between this series, which I think will help them come out very quickly against Boston on Tuesday night. As underdogs, I think the Heat have too much value to pass up on.