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NBA Playoff Preview: Boston Celtics Vs Miami Heat

As the most exciting time of the year begins for the NBA, fans from everywhere are tuned in for the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, the top seeded Boston Celtics (64-18 record) are up against the 8-seed Miami Heat (46-36 record) in a rematch of the conference finals last season. With the Celtics already off to a great start after a game 1 win, it will take a strong effort by the Heat to take them down in this series.

The Celtics are up in the series 1-0, after their 20-point win on April 21st. They are a team loaded with many all-star players, led by the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum is among the best players in the league, as he averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists during the season. His co-star Brown has also emerged, after averaging 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. The Celtics are much more than their duo, also relying on Derrick White, who has emerged into a star as well. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.2 rebounds, being a great option for Boston. The Celtics realized how close they were to a championship, and went out and got what they needed via trades. They made a deal for all-stars Kristaps Porzingis (CHRIS-Taps POR-ZIN-GIS), and Jrue Holiday, really wanting to get better defensively. Porzingis averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game during the season, being the defensive anchor in the paint. Holiday is also bringing his defense to Boston, after averaging 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game. The Celtics have a lot of star power, and unlike some teams, they are able to play as a top unit.

As a team, Boston has been among the best in the league on both ends of the floor. On offense, they are the highest ranked, with a rating of 122.2. This is due to the star power that they have on their team, but also the roll players developing into stars. On defense the Celtics rank second behind the Minnesota Timberwolves, with a rating of 110.6. Their team has been as elite as anyone in the league, and it's thanks to the star players and their roll players this season. Another vet who also stepped up on defense is Al Horford, who assists Porzinigis in anchoring the paint. He averaged 8.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game this season. Boston looks every part of a championship contender, but they will have their hands full with the squad they are facing in South Beach.

The Heat are known after their magical run to the Eastern Conference finals last season as an 8-seed. They made that run thanks to the play of their star, Jimmy Butler. However, their run might not be as magical this season after Butler was injured before the series. They do have reinforcements looking to make up for the loss, like Tyler Herro (HERO). He averaged 20.8 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game this season, looking to do more in the playoffs. At center, Miami is relying on Bam Adebayo, who has been a walking double-double this season. He averaged 19.3 points, and 10.4 rebounds, to go along with 3.4 assists as well. Another player who needs to step up is the rookie, Jaime Jacquez Jr. (HY-may HAH-kez). He has shown the capability of stepping up after averaging 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assist in his first year. Facing a dominating Celtics team is a good first test for him and will help him thrive in the future.

As a team, the Heat have been a poor offense, but a very good defense. On offense they rank 21st in the league, with a rating of 113.3, which should get worse with the loss of Butler. On defense Miami ranks 5th, with a rating of 111.5. They'll have to rely on their defense, and veteran players as well in order to take down Boston. One of these vets is Kevin Love, who has been solid for them this year. He averaged 8.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and is shooting 34.0% from three-point land. The Heat have a ton of talent on their team, but the loaded Boston Celtics might be too much for them to handle in a 4-7 game series.

The Celtics are coming into the rest of this series with revenge in their hearts, on the back of defending their great season. While Miami would love to play spoiler and knock them off once again, Boston looks too great of an obstacle to overcome.

The second game of the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series is on Wednesday, 4/24 at 4:00 PM PST on TNT.


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