Celtics vs. Heat: The Trilogy 💪
It's the most highly-anticipated trilogy event of the year, and I ain't talking Creed III. The Celtics and Heat are running it back in the ECF for the third time in four years, and Game 1 is going down tonight. God I love the playoffs 🏀 (3 min read)
Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
Eastern Conference Finals Preview
We got deja vu all over again tonight, but unlike last night’s WCF matchup (Jokic’s stats were insane), this evening’s battle in the East between the 2-seed Boston Celtics and 8-seed Miami Heat isn’t just a repeat — it’s a three-peat (almost), and these rivals split the first two editions 😎
Here’s hoping Round 3 is just as thrilling as Round 1 in the 2020 bubble (a 4-2 Miami victory), and Round 2 last year, a seven-game war that went 4-3 in favor Boston, but nearly ended very differently…
Not long after that game-winning three-point attempt banged off the front rim, Jimmy Butler was ready to proclaim that the Heat would be right back in the same position this year 😤
Jimmy Butler after the Miami Heat’s Game 7 loss to Boston last year:
“Next year, we will have enough, and we're gonna be right be right back in this same situation and we're gonna get it done."
Speaking it into existence 🗣️🔥
— Mink Flow (@currypistonn)
May 15, 2023
And despite an up-and-down regular season, and a loss in the play-in tournament, that prediction has come true 🔮
The man they call Playoff Jimmy has almost willed it true on his own. An All-NBA Second Team selection, he’s no slouch in the regular season, but through the first two series he’s exploded for an efficient 31.1 PPG along with 6.6 RPG and 5.4 APG. And he’s at his best when it matters most 💪
Most 4th Quarter PPG this playoffs
8.8 — Jimmy Butler
7.3 — Jayson Tatum
6.5 — Michael Porter Jr.
6.4 — Nikola Jokic
6.3 — Jamal Murray
— Hoop Muse (@HoopMuse)
May 15, 2023
Butler’s counterpart in the above graphic has certainly had an eventful postseason as well, and while I’m sure the highs and lows of Jayson Tatum can be frustrating for Boston fans, man are the highs worth it 🙌
A dreadful first half performance from Tatum in Game 6 had Boston’s season hanging in the balance, but he responded by outscoring Philly himself 16-13 in the 4th. He then proceeded to put up a historic 51 points in Game 7, ending both the Sixers’ season and Doc Rivers’ tenure as their coach 😳
BREAKING: The 76ers dismissed coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN. Rivers led the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in each of his three seasons on the job.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn)
May 16, 2023
The Celtics look borderline unstoppable if Tatum is playing the way he has over the last five quarters. But even if he has an off night against a tough Miami defense that just held the Knicks to 100 PPG, Boston isn’t lacking in alternate weapons 💪
Now super-max eligible on account of his All-NBA Second Team selection, Jaylen Brown looks like he’s on a mission to earn that fat contract, with at least 23 points in nine of his last ten (which is why you can catch me taking Over 24.5 Points at -108 😏)
Marcus Smart is not only scoring more (15.8 PPG, up from 11.5) than he did during the season, but he’s doing it more efficiently (46.5%, up from 41.5%). It’s just business as usual for a guy who has quite a bit of experience at this stage alongside Brown and Tatum ⬇️
Marcus Smart is in year 9 he’s 29 and will be playing in his 5th ECF
Jaylen Brown is in year 7 he’s 26 and will be playing in his 5th ECF
Jayson Tatum is in year 6 he’s 25 and will be playing in his 4th ECF
None of them have ever missed the playoffs
— Corey B (@CoreyB08)
May 15, 2023
It’s a seasoned trio that will be difficult to topple this time of year, and once you factor in the contributions of role players like Playoff Al, Derrick White and Sixth Man of the Year Malcom Brogdon, Boston becomes all the more dangerous 😤
Al Horford, once again, completely took the league MVP out of the game.
For the series, according to nba.com, Horford held Embiid to 82 total points on 80 shots and a HORRENDOUS 46.4 TS% (10.1% worse than the playoff average TS%).
Playoff Al does it again.
— 𝗕𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘🚨 (@bmoretalks_ball)
May 15, 2023
Simply put, Miami will have their work cut out for them if they want to steal Game 1 on the road, especially in front of what should be another raucous crowd
The biggest question mark is the offense outside of Butler. You know Bam Adebayo will at least make his presence felt on the glass and on defense, Kyle Lowry has as much big game experience as anyone in this series, and there’s a plethora of sharpshooting wings on the roster, all capable of heaters. But who steps up? 🤔
As you might expect, oddsmakers are backing the Celtics on their home floor tonight by a pretty significant margin. Take a look at how the lines are shaping up for Game 1 at TD Garden 👇
Heat vs. Celtics Betting Preview (subject to change)
Spread: Celtics -8
Moneyline: Celtics -370, Heat +295
Trivia Question: Which point guard was taken one pick ahead of Marcus Smart in the 2014 NBA Draft?
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
For My Parlay Gurus
Eight points seems like a lot to cover, even for a team as impressive as the Celtics at home. This Heat team feels like they’ll stick around in more games than they should this series, and I’m thinking that’s the case tonight. But I’m also banking on Jaylen Brown continuing his consistent excellence — check out this parlay 👇
Heat +8 @ Celtics: -108
Jaylen Brown Over 24.5 Points: -108
$100 on this bet would win you $282 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win up to $100*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉
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Trivia Answer: Dante Exum was selected by the Utah Jazz fifth overall in the 2014 Draft, right before Boston selected Smart with the sixth pick
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