Boston Celtics (2) vs Miami Heat (5)
The east has had plenty of excitement and upsets thus far in the playoffs. From the Miami Heat comfortably dismantling the number one overall seed and favorites Milwaukee Bucks, to a nail-biting thriller game 7 between Celtics and the defending champs Raptors. It’s clear that the Celtics and Heat are the two best, well-rounded teams in the East, setting the stage for a dramatic ECF.
Both teams faced off 3 times during the season, with Boston winning 2 of the 3. But based on how the playoffs have played out so far, the season series won’t be any indication of what is to come.
Both teams play excellent defense, but the edge goes to Miami, given their hustle and the presence of Bam Adebayo, and the Celtics are lacking a big man on defense.
Both teams have shooters, and its quite even in this regard. Form the young gunners in Miami like Tyler Herro and Ducan Robinson, to the Celtics with Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown lighting it up from downtown.
Both teams are superbly coached, with great systems that the players have completely bought into and get everyone involved. The Celtics have a more polished, impressive system in Brad Stevens, and of course Miami with a championship coach in Eric Spoelstra.
Both teams have a star playing at an MVP like level who can close the game out, in Jimmy Butler and Jason Tatum.
This series will go 7, and if forced to pick a winner, it would reluctantly be Boston Celtics. Their starting 4 Tatum, Brown, Smart and Kemba gives them 4 all-star calibre players who enjoy the big moment. The addition of Gordon Hayward and how much he plays will also be key for the Celtics. Kemba Walker has yet to have a stellar series performance so he’s long overdue. For my Miami, their two all-stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo will have to have an impressive series.
But the pick here is Celtics in 7.