Here we go! The conference finals are fast approaching, and the Miami Heat now know who will be standing between them and a spot in the NBA Finals.
Following the Boston Celtics game seven victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, we will be treated to a repeat of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, as Miami and Boston go head-to-head. Still, a lot has changed since then, and Boston’s Jaylen Brown wasted no time letting the Heat know it.
“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. I think that we’re ready to take that next step. We just got to go out and take it,” Brown told the media when asked about the prospect of facing the Heat.
JJ Redick Believes Butler Will be a Big Factor
Tatum and Brown will be the two players receiving all the media attention heading into the opening game of the series between Miami and Boston. Still, according to former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler has the potential to be the most dangerous player on the court.
“I think the big takeaway so far in these first two rounds of the playoffs is Jimmy Butler as a superstar. And because he doesn’t, on a night-to-night basis, for that team, need to put up insane counting stats. And I feel like we in the NBA world tend to overlook him a little bit.
In terms of just how valuable he is once we get to the playoffs. We saw him in 2020 go shot for shot with LeBron (James) in the finals – he took that team to the finals. I think sometimes we do forget where he is in the hierarchy of NBA players because he is elite,” Redick said on a recent episode of his Old Man & The Three podcast.
Butler has been exceptional throughout the Heat’s run to the 2022 conference finals, averaging 28.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game on 52.5% shooting from the field and 36.4% shooting from the perimeter per Basketball-Reference.
Miami Holds Homecourt Advantage
Unlike their last conference finals meeting, which was held on neutral ground, the Heat hold homecourt advantage over the Celtics after finishing as the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
We’ve just witnessed what benefits having a homecourt provides a team, as the Celtics rallied to defeat Milwaukee in front of their home crowd – becoming the first team in that series to win consecutive games. Of course, the Heat will be hoping to take care of business without needing a game seven, but Boston is a well-coached team that prides itself on defense – so expecting a long and arduous series is probably the smart decision.
Still, until we see these two teams face off in the flesh, we’re not going to get a good feel for how they match up and where each roster holds an advantage. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long, as game one is set to take place on Tuesday, May 17.