The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics just can’t stay away from one another. They faced off in three consecutive postseasons from 2010-2012, including the 2012 Eastern Conference finals. They battled in the same round in the 2020 Orlando bubble with Miami coming out on top. Now, they’ll face off for the fifth time in the postseason since 2010, and they’ll do so with yet another trip to the NBA Finals on the line.
Boston is coming off a grueling seven-game war with the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami is well-rested after finishing its series with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. Will Boston carry the momentum of its comeback against Milwaukee into the Eastern Conference semfinals? Or will the Heat prove why they earned the No. 1 seed in the conference by taking down Boston and making their second trip to the Finals in three years? Here’s how you can find out as the two teams square off Tuesday.
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(2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Milwaukee Bucks
- When: Tuesday, May 17 | 8:30 p.m. ET
- Where: FTX Arena — Miami, Florida
- TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo TV (try for free)
- Odds: BOS +115; MIA -135; O/U 204 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Celtics: How much was Boston really able to prepare for Miami? Remember, the Celtics were celebrating a series win over the Bucks two days ago. They are likely exhausted and now playing in their third different city in five days. Boston is favored to win the series, but we probably aren’t going to see the best version of the Celtics on the road for Game 1. Can they overcome the exhaustion and limited preparation they’re surely dealing with? Boston is also without defensive stalwarts Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) for Game 1.
Heat: Miami skepticism has centered around its offense all season long. Could the Heat score enough in the half court to survive against elite postseason defenses? We don’t really know yet because they spent the first two rounds beating up on two of the worst defenses in the playoff field. The jump from Philadelphia to Boston — the NBA’s best defense and a historically dominant one from January on — is going to be vast. Without Kyle Lowry, the Heat are going to have to get creative if they plan to score enough to win this series.
I picked the Celtics to win this series in six, but that means they’re going to lose two games in the process. I’d expect this to be one of them. Miami’s rest and preparation advantages are going to power the Heat to a Game 1 win, and then it will be up to the Celtics to respond. The pick: Heat -2