If you told me at the beginning of the season that the Celtics and Heat were going to meet in the playoffs I probably would have thought it was going to be in the first round as the 3/6 or 4/5 match up. The fact that this is the match up in the Eastern Conference Finals is crazy. However, being in the bubble and the fact that these two teams are the two tightest-knit teams in the NBA (yes, I said in the NBA) it makes sense.
Okay so to date in the playoffs the Heat steamrolled the Pacers and shocked the world against the Bucks making them look like Gerber green beans, and they have been chillin’ for what seems like months waiting for their opponent.
The Celtics looked like they were unstoppable, winning their first six games in the playoffs against pre-season finals favorite Philadelphia and defending champion Toronto. Then OG hit a game winning three as time expired to make the series 2-1. The Celtics then had to fight for their lives to win the series in seven. Sure, there were some moments when it looked like they were out man’d, but regardless it went seven and it took some great defense from the league leader in combat muscles to get it done.
Okay so the Heat and Celtics have met three times this season. Boston winning both times when they met in the normal world, and Miami winning when they met in the bubble. So for argument sake when it comes to performance in the head to head match-ups, let’s call them even.
Players- I think a good way to judge this series is who has the best players.
- Jimmy Butler- Butler is the best player in this series. He brings to the table amazing offense along with Marcus Smart-esque defense so that is hard to top.
- Jayson Tatum- JT has grown up before our eyes this season. After a disappointing second season, Tatum has turned into one of the best young players in the NBA.
- Kemba Walker- he struggled in the last couple of games, but Kemba is still a top 10 point guard in the NBA and probably a top 30 player in the NBA.
- Jaylen Brown- people laughed at the Celtics when they extended Jaylen before this season, and now I’m laughing at them. Hahaha. Jaylen is one of the hardest-nosed players in the NBA and his game offesneively has improved drastically year over year
- Bam Adebayo- Hand up I wasn’t high on Bam when he came out, but boy oh boy has he proven me wrong. He’s uber athletic, has a nice offensive game and is really strong defensively. He’s definitely going to eat in this series.
- Marcus Smart- I can talk about this guy for hours, but I’ll keep the praise to a minimum. My personal favorite player in the NBA and someone who I would never bet against in a million years to come through when it matters most. Against the Raptors he showed how he has turned into an all-around great player and one of the best in the league on the defensive end.
- Goran Dragic- I feel like Dragic has been around since the turn of the century, but he’s still kicking at 34, and playing some of the best basketball of his career. In my opinion he’s the perfect player for the Heat because he is able to score when needed but he doesnt have an ego so if he only gets a few shots one game he will wont pout and will have an impact on the game in other ways.
- Jae Crowder- BOSSMAN99! He has always been underappreciated and I really hope people get to see how awesome he is during this series. He’s a solid three point shooter and another guy that gets after it on defense. It wouldnt surprise me to see him and Butler give Tatum the blues for multiple games this series.
- Gordon Hayward- Hayward is coming back this series! And regardless of what you think about him, he is still a former all-star that can get buckets when needed and helps the Celtics out a lot when it comes to spacing, and is a great depth piece to have for when guys like Smart, Brown or Tatum get into foul trouble.
- Tyler Herro- I would be remissed if I didn’t include Jimmy Butler’s favorite player in the top 10. Only a rookie, but Herro has been super clutch this season and plays a huge role on this Heat team.
Best of the rest: Daniel Theis, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn, Grant Williams.
Really, it is a pretty even match up talent-wise regardless of what people say. There is so much grit and scoring fire power on both sides I really think this is going to be one of, if not the best series we get this playoffs. Not to mention that both teams have two of the best coaches in the NBA so they really are evenly matched.
Prediction: Well, I think predicitons go way deeper than just who comes out on top for this series.
- There will be a brawl.
2. Tyler Herro goes off on a Tyler Tuesday.
3. Jayson Tatum drops 40 once.
4. Bam will feast against the Celtics “lack” of size.
5. Jaylen Brown will be compared to a young Jimmy Butler.
6. Jimmy Butler will show he can be a number one option on a contender.
7. Weird Celtics twitter will put out Marcus Smart memes at an alarming rate.
8. There will be a game known as the Kelly Olynyk game
9. Fun times will be had
10. The Celtics will win the series in 7 and will move on to the NBA finals for the first time since 2010.
The Heat had the Celtics number during the Lebron years not gonna lie, but these are obviously totally different teams. And just for the sake of my guy Paul Pierce I want to be able to see him dance on the graves of the internet haters. The only way people will get off his back is if the Celtics win it all. By no means am I saying it will happen but this is the next step. And the Celtics are more than capable of beating the Heat. Their “star” power between Tatum and Walker in my opinion will be too much for the Heat to overcome even though they have the best player in the series and more depth.