All season, it felt like everyone was more excited for the Western Conference Playoffs, but the Eastern Conference had two exciting series to set us up for today. We also have another Zaza Pachulia special with a Game 7. If you missed it yesterday, Drew Dinkmeyer, Andrew Wiggins and I did a deep-dive pod on the action today and on the Eastern Conference Finals overall. The highlight of my week with some great opinions, stats and a lot more. As usual with a new series starting, I went in depth for the Game 1, but didn’t add too much for Game 7 because we kind of know what to expect.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (-1), 6:40 pm ET
Team Totals: Heat 104.5, Celtics 105.5
Injury News: Gordon Hayward (ankle, more below) is out, Javonte Green (knee) is doubtful, Jaylen Brown is expected to be fine after his groin issue in Game 7, and Chris Silva remains out
Heat Expected Starters: Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Bam Adebayo
Celtics Expected Starters: Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis
Season series: 2-1 Boston (Miami played in a back end of back-to-back set in all three)
Player Absences: Marcus Smart (2 games missed), Jayson Tatum (1) Goran Dragic (1), Jimmy Butler (1), Kendrick Nunn (1), Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala only played one game with Miami because of trade
Playoff Offensive Rating: Heat 4th, Celtics 7th
Playoff Defensive Rating: Heat 4th, Celtics 1st
Season Defensive Rating: Heat 12th, Celtics 4th
Season Pace: Heat 27th, Celtics 17th
Spo Quotes: He said he will rely on his young guys, and he has the veterans around to help them through the new experiences for deep playoff runs. Spo said that he can’t really draw any conclusions from the season matchups with Boston because of multiple different people missing action. He said the Heat won’t “reinvent the wheel” when asked about defensive coverages.