GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat set to tip off game 1 of ECF in Boston
Heat and Celtics ready for rematch; 3rd ECF together in 4 seasons.
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been the two best teams in the East arguably since Jimmy Butler arrived in South Beach in 2019. Now, they will meet yet again for the 3rd Eastern Conference Finals matchup in the last 4 seasons. This is a rivalry that goes back even further, as the two teams have met in the playoffs 6 times in the last 13 years.
Boston got the best of the Dwayne Wade led Heat team in 2010. However, when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined him and created the “big three”, Miami knocked off Boston in back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Fast forward to the bubble in 2020, and Jimmy Butler and that Heat team defeated Boston in 6 games. The Celtics ended up getting their revenge by sending Miami home in 7 games just last season. Now, comes the rubber series between the two during the Butler era.
Two teams with storied franchise history and lots of success; this one is going to be a dog fight.
Although the Milwaukee Bucks had the best overall seed in the entire NBA, which the Heat ousted in 5 games during round 1, the Celtics matchup better against the Heat.
It is never an easy night for the guys from South Florida to take down Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics. To make it even harder, they have to do it inside TD Garden in Boston. It is always a hostile environment there, and this time around shouldn’t be any different.
Tatum is coming off a 51 point explosion in game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the last round on Sunday. With Adebayo most likely starting out defending Robert Williams ||| and Kevin Love on Al Horford, that leaves Jimmy Butler as the one to defend Tatum.
Everyone knows what kind of two-way talent Butler is and brings to this team in the playoffs. However, he played through an ankle injury in the last round against the New York Knicks and although he was still very solid, he wasn’t on the same level he was at offensively in the round prior against Milwaukee.
Luckily, his name is completely off the injury report and hopefully he took advantage of the 4 full days off and rested up with lots of treatment. The Heat are going to need Butler at almost full strength to pull off yet another upset against an Eastern Conference foe.
Butler spoke to media yesterday and seemed healthy and confident that him and the rest of the team can take down Boston, even as an 8 seed.
“This year is our year. We’re going to go into this game 1 and do what we’re supposed to do and be the first one to four (wins).”
Besides the usual Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo who are out, Cody Zeller is the lone man on the injury report listed as questionable with an illness. He will most likely be close to a gametime decision.
Tonight’s pivotal game 1 will be nationally televised on TNT.
Cody Zeller (illness) — QUESTIONABLE
Tyler Herro (hand) — OUT
Victor Oladipo (knee) — OUT
Danilo Gallinari (knee) — OUT
Probable Starters (at time of publishing):
Robert Williams |||
ODDS (via FanDuel)
Check the odds out at FanDuel!
Tipoff: 8:30 PM EST
Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
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