Based solely on the betting market and their respective records, it’s easy to see that the Boston Celtics are clear favorites to win their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Miami Heat and make their return to the NBA Finals. This is a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Heat won in 6 games. However, it gets harder to draw that conclusion when you take a look into how the teams fared against each other during the regular season. The teams split their four head-to-head games this season. Miami displayed their trademark defense in one matchup, while scoring 120 or more points twice against the Celtics. The Heat showed they can play with the Celtics, and most fans and analysts would agree the Heat have a significant edge in coaching.
With the edge in coaching and with the Heat being an elite defensive team, it stands to reason they are going to focus on shutting down Jayson Tatum. Of course, this is easier said than done, as Tatum is one of the best offensive players in the league. However, the Celtics will need other players to step up throughout the series. This leads us to Jaylen Brown. Brown is often considered the “Robin” to Tatum’s “Batman”. Everyone knows Batman is more effective when Robin is doing what he can to take pressure off Batman. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Brown has been a solid complimentary player to Tatum. He’s averaging over 24.5 points, just under 7 rebounds and exactly 3.5 rebounds. However, the Heat are the best defensive team that the Celtics will have played thus far in the playoffs. Can Brown keep up his performance against this elite defensive team? His team’s title hopes may depend on it.
This series should be a good one!