Eastern Conference Finals Series Preview

John Gallardo
FiredUp Network Sports Writer

@j_gallardo2

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


A defensive battle in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch

Two teams are left standing in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics are coming off a gruelling seven-game series against the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks. They overcame a complete collapse in game five where they blew a double-digit lead, and went on to win the series in a gutsy game six performance on the road, followed up by a complete blow out in game seven to advance.

 

The Miami Heat on the other hand are better rested, as they came off a competitive but remarkably easier path to the Eastern Conference Finals, eliminating the injury depleted Philadelphia 76ers.

 

The last time these two teams faced off in the playoffs was in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, where Miami defeated Boston in a close six-game series. A lot has changed between then and now, and this year’s series looks to be closer than ever between the two teams.

 

Tale of the Tape

These are two very defensive-oriented teams, as both Ime Udoka and Erik Spoelstra get their teams to guard at an elite level. Boston had one of the best defences in the league this year, and Miami wasn’t far behind. Expect low scoring, grind it out, 90’s basketball in this series.

 

Look for Jimmy Butler to lead the way for Miami offensively, as he has been a huge part of the Heat’s offensive attack, currently averaging 28.7 points per game in the postseason. Bam Adebayo is the next leading scorer for Miami, averaging 14.6 points.

 

The player that must perform well for the Heat, and is really the biggest X-factor for them is Tyler Herro. Herro was a bright spot for the Heat in his rookie year, and he’s coming off a near-unanimous sixth man of the year campaign. He has struggled in this postseason, averaging just 13.8 points on 27.3% shooting from distance. Herro will have to re-discover his shooting stroke in this series in order for Miami to have success against Boston.

 

For the Celtics, they are the much more well-rounded offensive team at this point, as they shot the absolute lights out of the Bucks in their Eastern Conference Semi-final matchup. The Miami defence is known to give up a lot of looks from three, but they're also one of the best teams at limiting the effectiveness of those looks, being a top-three team in three-point percentage allowed.

 

Boston will need to continue their hot shooting, or they will likely struggle against a Miami Heat team that will not make life easy for them inside the three-point line.

 

Series Prediction

The biggest question for this series is the health of Heat Point Guard Kyle Lowry. The veteran provides proven championship experience and pedigree, and is one of the main drivers in Miami’s transition offence. The Heat just aren’t as effective in transition without Lowry on the court, and his status could be a determining factor in this series.

 

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, something has to give. That’s very much the scenario here between these two teams. At this point, we know that these teams can guard at an elite level. We know that each team has a big-time superstar leading the way offensively.

 

Sometimes in basketball it’s as simple as which team is going to make more shots. Due to the inconsistencies of Miami’s supporting cast, it’s hard to pick against a team that just knocked off the defending champs in rather convincing fashion. Still, expect this series to be an entertaining affair between two of the NBA’s best. This will go the distance, and Boston will be advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2008 in seven games.