On Sunday night, the Boston Celtics took down the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7, earning them a date with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. For the second time in the last three years, the Celtics and Heat are the last two teams standing in the Eastern Conference.
Things have obviously changed since the teams last met in 2020, but the team’s core players still remain. Boston is led by the same group of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford, while the Heat are still led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro.
This will be Boston’s fourth trip to the Conference Finals in the last six years. Brown and Smart have been on all of those teams, while Tatum and Horford have been on three. After the Celtics’ Game 7 win over the Bucks, Brown spoke about the team’s growth and why he believes they are more prepared this time around.
“This is the group I feel like is poised enough to get it done. I feel like everything that we’ve overcome, all these battles and challenges and adversity that we’ve been through this season, as well as the challenge that we just had overcoming the defending champs, I think that we are prepared,” Brown explained. “I think that we’re ready to take that next step. We just got to go out and take it.”
And while Brown is supremely confident in his team’s ability, he also did not hesitate to show respect to Miami. He spoke about their mentality as a team and the battle that awaits Boston in the next round.
Brown on the Heat: ‘Team Full of Dogs’
The Heat were the best team in the Eastern Conference this year, and beating them will be no easy feat. Brown talked about Miami and how the Celtics plan to match their constant energy and hustle.
“I know Miami is a team that’s waiting for us,” Brown said. “They’re not going to back down and not gonna give up. And neither are we. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Brown further elaborated on this thought process, saying that the Heat are a ‘team full of dogs.’ The Celtics star said that he expects the upcoming series to be a battle.
“Tough team. Team full of dogs,” Brown said. “Guys is not gonna give up, guys is not gonna give you anything. Not an inch. So we got to go out and play with poise. Play with the same mindset – to fight. I expect nothing less than a great battle.”
It was a battle the last time these two teams faced off in the playoffs. The Heat finished off the Celtics in six games in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, but it was a tightly-contested series.
Celtics Technically Won 2020 Battle With Heat
While Miami was able to win the series, Boston actually had a positive point differential in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals. They were a +1 through the six games, but it didn’t matter in the end. Miami moved on, and the Celtics left The Bubble disappointed.
Tatum (26.5 points) and Brown (23.2 points) led the Celtics in scoring in the series, while Smart (17.0) finished third on the team. For Miami, Adebayo (21.8 points) led the way. However, Goran Dragic (20.5 points), who is no longer with the team, was Miami’s second-leading scorer in that series.
As the top two teams in the East get to square off, it’s clear that the Celtics understand the task in front of them. This series will not be an easy one, and Boston only gets one day of rest before it kicks off. Game 1 is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday night, and it can be streamed on ESPN.