Older and Tougher Celtics Seek Revenge
The Boston Celtics just eliminated the defending NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. Boston withstood a historical performance from the Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Celtics are now favored to advance to the NBA Finals. Does Boston want the jewelry? The Celtics will have to get past an old rival in this Celtics vs Heat preview.
Boston was upended by the Miami Heat the last time they were in the NBA Conference Finals. These teams are two seasons more experienced with a few different players, however, the core remain the same. In a similar fashion, Boston is also favored, like they were in 2020. Home court advantage did not mean much in this series, as Miami won in six games.
The Celtics showed plenty of grit in their seven games against Milwaukee. Boston was outsized and had difficulties dealing with Antetokounmpo’s physicality, but they neutralized him when it mattered the most. The Heat are also a physical and defensive team, but they also have more firepower than the Bucks. It’s a different animal, but Boston is eager to prove it has grown since they last played.
- Team records: Boston Celtics (51-31, second seed in East), Miami Heat (53-29, first seed in East)
- Date: Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET (Game 1)
- Television/live stream: TBD
Heat is Dangerous as Underdog
Despite finishing with the best record in the East, the Miami Heat are once again underdogs, a role they played with passion in their 2020 run to the NBA Finals. Miami defeated both the Bucks and Celtics before succumbing to injuries against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat are not fully healthy with Kyle Lowry on the mend, but the team has cut through the playoffs like a buzzsaw.
Jimmy Butler has been unstoppable and through 10 games he is averaging 28.7 points, 7.6 boards, 5.4, assists, and 2.1 steals with just 1.7 turnovers. While Miami did go against a hobbled Philadelphia and Atlanta, there is no denying that the six-time All-Star is peaking at the right time.
Behind Butler are Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, who are also playing at an elite level. Miami is also averaging the second-most bench points among the four teams remaining, and at least five players are averaging double figures. Should Lowry be healthy enough to play, the series could swing in Miami’s favor.
Matchups to Watch in Celtics-Heat Rematch
While the cores of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have stayed the same, we have new players on both sides that could be the “X-Factor” for their squads. This includes the questionable players on the injury reports. Keep an eye on Boston Celtics news to see center Robert Williams’s status, as his energy and defensive prowess could be critical in keeping the Heat out of the paint.
Speaking of centers, Al Horford will need to match Bam Adebayo in the middle. Horford was not with Boston in 2020. He more than helped the Celtics get past the Bucks as he had some big games on top of being the team’s most efficient player on both ends. Adebayo beat up on Philadelphia without Embiid, but when the big man returned, he was not as significant of a threat.
All eyes will be on Butler as he takes on the one-two punch of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are scoring at least 46 percent of Boston’s 108 points per game this postseason. Victor Oladipo will have to step up and help lock down one of the two, especially if Lowry can’t play. The two-time All-Star has been iffy on offense, but his defensive acumen will be invaluable in a series that will be Miami’s toughest.
Celtics vs Heat Betting Trends
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have each won five games in their last 10 meetings. Both are 5-5 against the spread (ATS) with the underdog covering on six occasions.
The total has hit the over in seven of these 10 games, however, the total has fallen under in nine of Miami’s last 11 games and five of Boston’s last seven.
The Celtics are 6-3 against the Heat in games where both Bam Adebayo and Al Horford play. This season, Boston is 2-1 against Miami when both played. Adebayo averaged 14 points and eight boards against Horford’s 10 points and 10.3 boards.Follow us on Twitter