2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference: #1 Miami Heat vs #2 Boston Celtics
Tale of the Tape:
|111.8 (12th)||Points Per Game||110 (17th)|
|104.5 (1st)||Points Allowed Per Game||105.6 (4th)|
|24th||Pace of Play||29th|
|5th||Off Efficiency Rating||10th|
|2nd||Def Efficiency Rating||5th|
Can’t Miss Offer From Caesars
|108.5 (7th)||Points Per Game||107.1 (9th)|
|101.8 (3rd)||Points Allowed Per Game||97.5 (1st)|
|37% (6th)||3PT Shooting %||32.1% (13th)|
|32.9% (3rd)||Opponent 3PT Shooting %||33.2% (4th)|
|12.5 (5th)||Turnovers per game||12.4 (4th)|
- Jayson Tatum, F-G. – 31.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 8.0 APG, 50% FG
- Jaylen Brown, G-F. – 23.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 4.0 SPG, 47.4% FG
- Al Horford, G. – 20.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 61.5% FG
- Jimmy Butler, SF: 21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.6 SPG
- Tyler Herro, PG: 20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 39.9% 3PT
- Bam Adebayo, C: 19.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 55.7% FG
- Kyle Lowry, Miami: Day-to-Day (Hamstring strain)
Celtics win the series 4-2
- We can already tell from the stats above that this is going to be a strong defensive series. These were two of the best defensive teams in the regular season and that carried over to the playoffs, where they have game-planned perfectly for their opponents and repeatedly frustrated the other team’s best players. As a result, this should be a slow and methodical series where every possession could matter and every tactical adjustment could be the difference between a win and a loss.
- Boston won the regular-season series 2-1 with each of their wins being by 17 or more points. The one game that Miami won was decided by eight points. However, in Boston’s second win, both Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry were not suited up for Miami.
- Yet, Kyle Lowry was not able to practice and is unlikely to play in Game 1, so that may still be an issue for the Heat in this postseason series.
- Both team’s stars have been electric this postseason. Jimmy Butler is 4th in the postseason in scoring, averaging 28.7 points per game on 52.5% shooting while chipping in 7.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum is right behind him with 28.3 points per game on a less efficient 43.8% shooting, while adding 5.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
- With both defenses likely keying on these stars, the series could very well come down to which role players or secondary stars step up. So far this postseason, both teams have gotten a rotation of good performances, like Grant Williams’ effort in Game 7 or Bam Adebayo’s performance in Game 4.
- However, Boston’s secondary stars are more likely to have big games. So far in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Jaylen Brown is averaging 22.2 points per game, and Marcus Smart is scoring 15 points per game, which are both more than anybody besides Butler on Miami. Bam Adebayo does check in at 14.6 points per game and Tyler Herro has averaged 13.8; yet, it’s clear that Boston has the better supporting cast, so if they can keep Jimmy Butler from going off, it should favor the underdogs.
- Just for the sake of respect, wily veterans P.J. Tucker of the Heat and Al Horford of the Celtics have been tremendous in their small roles beyond the arc, with Tucker shooting 48.4% from three with 1.5 makes per game and Horford shooting 45.1% from three with 2.1 makes per game. We know that Horford had some tremendous games in the Bucks’ series, so if either one of these two veterans can step up, it would be a big boost to his team.
- Lastly, a big factor in the Celtics’ victory over the Bucks was their advantage from the three-point line. That could be an issue in this series as well since Miami allowed opponents to take 45.6% of their shots from beyond the arc during the regular season. In the Celtics’ two wins over the Heat this year, they shot 39% from deep but shot just 30% in their lone loss. If Boston is hitting on their threes, it could highlight one of the weaker points in Miami’s defense.