The Boston Celtics had their nine-game win streak snapped on Monday night, falling to the Orlando Magic for the third time this season. Luckily for them, they have no time to dwell on their loss, as they will be facing off against the Miami Heat on Tuesday for their second game of a back-to-back.
They took on the Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, going seven games and just barely eeking out a win. Ahead of their Tuesday night contest, Miami center Bam Adebayo sent a strong message on the Celtics about how they like to bring it against Boston.
“Obviously, it’s history there from before we were here,” Adebayo told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “And some people still carry that weight, and it’s one of those things that you’ve just got to inherit. Some people just don’t understand it, they don’t get it. But when the Celtics come in we always try to make it a dogfight.”
The last time these two teams faced off was back on December 2, when the Heat got the best of Boston in an overtime thriller, with Jimmy Butler hitting two clutch buckets. On the season, however, the Celtics still hold a 2-1 advantage over the Heat. If Boston wins, they secure the season series against Miami, but if they lose, the series will be tied. And while it may not seem important now, if the Heat go on a run and Boston struggles for whatever season, it could end up being decisive.
Boston and Miami have long histories with one another, too. They commonly met in the postseason in the early 2010s, with the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen Celtics taking on the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh Heat.
Nowadays, the rivalry has shifted, but the two sides have still met in the Eastern Conference Finals in two of the last three years. As for Adebayo, he’s put up some solid stats against Boston. Over the course of 31 regular-season and playoff games against the Celtics, the big man has averaged 16.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per contest on 58.4% shooting from the field.
Jaylen Brown Confident in Celtics
While Adebayo and the Heat are ready to bring the energy against Boston, the Celtics are confident in themselves. After a recent win over the Toronto Raptors, Jaylen Brown was asked about scoring options, and during his reply, he stated that he’s taking the Celtics over everyone.
“I just play the game,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston. “I mean, I’ll let you guys determine what is the options. We’re not number one and number two, I just come out and play the game. The moment you start thinking that is the moment that I think that you’ll start doubting yourself or – there’s no need to come out and play the game any other way than how I normally play. And that’s how I see it. Tonight, we was out guys. Obviously, I would get more attention. But tonight, we had guys step up. We had Payton [Pritchard] come out and play really well. Grant [Williams] came out and got hot. And that’s what we need. We’re a team. So, it doesn’t matter who rolls the ball out or which team is doing what, I got my money on the C’s. I don’t know if I can say that.”
Stephen A. Smith Sounds Off on Celtics
“Boston’s the best team in basketball,” Smith said. “They can hurt you in a multitude of ways. Right now, I don’t think anybody would argue with the fact that Jayson Tatum is a leading league MVP candidate; he is a superstar. They have the best depth in the NBA, one could argue about Denver as well, but I’m gonna pick the Celtics for the moment. And, not to mention the fact that their defense can turn it up a notch when Robert Williams is on the court. Right now, the Boston Celtics are easily the favorites to win it all.”