The Boston Celtics will be matching up against the Miami Heat for the third time in the last four years in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs. An epic trilogy between two of the best teams in the east.
The Celtics’ dynamic duo of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown will again go head-to-head against Jimmy Butler and the Heat in the brightest stage of the conference, looking to carry their team and punch their ticket back to the NBA Finals once again.
The Heat has been on a magical Cinderella run in this year’s postseason by crawling from the Play-In Tournament, and reached the conference finals as the 8th seed. Led by Butler, they manhandled Giannis Antetokoumnpo’s first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round by eliminating them in only five games, and took care of the New York Knicks in the second round in just six games. Jimmy Butler continues to go nuclear in this year’s playoffs by averaging 31.1ppg, 6.6rpg, 5.4apg, 1.7spg, and 0.8bpg on a 52.7/36.1/79.2 shooting splits – upsetting heavy favorites in their path back to the conference finals.
However, the second seeded Celtics have elite weapons to neutralize Butler’s nuclear performance so far in the playoffs. Jayson Tatum once again proves to be one of the brightest superstars in the NBA by averaging 28.2ppg, 10.6rpg, 5.2apg, 1.1spg, and 1.2bpg while shooting 45% from the field, 36% from behind the arc, and 86% from the charity stripe in this year’s playoffs so far. Him, along with his co-star Jaylen Brown, completely dominated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, and knocked the MVP winner Joel Embiid and his Philadelphia 76ers out of the playoffs in all seven games behind Tatum’s NBA record 51-point performance in game seven.
In their previous two marquee match-ups in the conference finals, their series record is at a 1-1 win-loss record. Back in the 2019-20 East Finals, the Heat owned the Celtics by going 4-2, winning in six games. However, the Celtics would eventually get their revenge in the 2021-22 East Finals after Jimmy Butler failed to sink a potential game-winning three-point shot in game seven, handing the Celtics their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Now at their third Eastern Conference Finals series, will the Celtics redeem themselves from a disappointing finals loss last season, or will the Heat get their vindication from a heartbreaking conference finals defeat against the Celtics? The answer lies straight ahead.
Tip-off starts at 8:30 am on Thursday, May 18, 2023 (GMT+8).