Miami has not played for a week as they have waited for the East play-in games to conclude. That finished on Friday night when the Hawks had a comeback win in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. Atlanta, 39 hours later begins their series against the Heat.
In that game, the Hawks lost Clint Capela to a hyper extended knee and he is expected to miss at least a week before being re-evaluated. That’s a damaging loss to the Hawks interior presence as they could also be without John Collins.
The Heat are pretty much healthy — with Bam Adebayo clearing H/S protocols yesterday and it appears that PJ Tucker is ready to return after a calf strain.
This series will be focused around the presence of Trae Young, the NBA’s season leader in total points and also total assists this year. He was the dominant force in Atlanta’s second half comeback win on Friday and will be a lot for the Heat to handle. The Heat have the personnel to handle Young, but a playoff series will have a lot of “hunting” and you will see plenty of Max Strus, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robiunson unfortunately switched onto Young with Miami’s switching defense.
Look for the Heat to really key in on Bam Adebayo to be aggressive. Without Capela and possibly Collins, the Hawks lack a lot of interior talent to play against Bam. Okongwu can play well and has a good motor, but after that — they will struggle if Bam is aggressive.
Game 1 is going to be a great atmosphere and the Heat will look to pounce on an opponent who has had to battle all week just to secure a playoff spot.
Eastern Conference Finals Schedule
|Game 1||Tuesday, May 17||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 2||Thursday, May 19||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 3||Saturday, May 21||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 4||Monday, May 23||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 5*||Wednesday, May 25||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 6*||Friday, May 27||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 7*||Sunday, May 29||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
- PJ Tucker: probable (calf)
- Lou Williams: out (back)
- John Collins: questionable (finger/foot)
- Clint Capela: out (knee)
|Marcus Smart||PG||Kyle Lowry|
|Jaylen Brown||SG||Max Strus|
|Jayson Tatum||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Al Horford||PF||PJ Tucker|
|Robert Williams III||C||Bam Adebayo|
FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat an 70% chance to win the game.
TV: Bally Sports Sun, TNT
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)
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