Fixture: Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat
Date & Time: Saturday, September 19th, 8:30 PM ET (Sunday, 6:00 AM IST)
Venue: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
The Boston Celtics find themselves down 0-2 to the Miami Heat after yet another impressive comeback from Jimmy Butler and co. With that victory, the Miami Heat are now 10-1 in the NBA playoffs so far - an astonishing feat given the lack of bonafide stars at their disposal.
The Miami Heat's unwillingness to give up irrespective of the challenges thrown at them is their greatest strength. That is exactly why the Boston Celtics will have to do very well to come back in this series, given how commanding a lead the Heat have opened up.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics failed to see out yet another game in which they built a lead of several possessions midway through the match. After letting a 14-point lead slip in Game 1, they went a further possession worse in Game 2 as they saw a 17-point lead turn into a deficit in no time.
The Celtics' inability to get stops down the stretch continues to hurt them, and coach Brad Stevens emphasized on the same.
“We’re not beating this team if we’re not completely connected on both ends of the court. So we’ve got to get back to being that ... We’re going to have to fight to get back into this series.”
While the Boston Celtics have a number of very skilled players who can get the job done on the offensive end, they all went stone cold in the 3rd quarter of Game 2 to score just 17 points, while the Miami Heat dropped 37 in that period.
It was the only quarter in which the Miami Heat outscored the Boston Celtics, and they still managed to come away with the win. Jayson Tatum and co. simply cannot afford to go through such disastrous phases again if they are to have any chance of winning this series.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
The go-to guy for the Boston Celtics when desperately in need of a bucket, Jayson Tatum was held scoreless in the entire fourth quarter. It is simply impossible to picture the Celtics winning the series if that becomes a regular occurrence.
The 22-year-old actually shot well from the field - a solid 50% on 12 attempts. Yet, the fact that he was reduced to just the 12 shots is something his opponents would be very proud of.
If Tatum can be a little more aggressive on the offensive end, he can be absolutely lethal, and that is exactly what the Boston Celtics fans demand of him right now.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat will be absolutely delighted to have snatched yet another victory from the jaws of defeat. Erik Spoelstra's team have been nothing short of a revelation in the playoffs this season. They have continued to fight valiantly against all odds, beating teams who are much stronger than them on paper.
This current batch of Miami Heat players cherish being challenged and do not allow adversities to bring them down. With a fantastic blend of young players and seasoned veterans, the Miami Heat have everything they need to go all the way to the NBA finals.
The Miami Heat starters shared the scoring once again, and showed that they don't depend on one person to rack up a chunk of the points. They would especially be happy with sharpshooter Duncan Robinson regaining his rhythm, as he drained 6-12 threes.
35-year-old point guard Goran Dragic too turned back the clock as he top-scored in this game with 25 points. On the defensive end, they remained as resolute as ever.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
If you take a look at the box score of Game 2, you might come to the conclusion that Jimmy Butler had a bad day at the office. After all, he put up only 14 points on 4-11 shooting. Yet, he was one of the biggest reason why the Miami Heat emerged victorious - if not the biggest reason.
Jimmy Butler came up with as many as 4 steals on the evening, with 3 of them coming in the 4th quarter. The former Chicago Bulls forward was at his defensive best as he made the Boston Celtics attackers work extremely hard to score each one of their buckets late in the game.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
Celtics v Heat Prediction
The Boston Celtics again looked like they were cruising to a victory, only to end up losing courtesy of a catastrophic loss of concentration in key phases in the game.
But it is hard not to pick the Boston Celtics in Game 3, especially since star forward Gordon Hayward's return from injury looks like a real possibility. They have the fire-power needed to storm to a much-needed victory, and with the series essentially on the line, you simply have to back them to win Game 3.
The Miami Heat will once again make things extremely difficult for the Boston Celtics, but Kemba Walker and co. have enough in their tanks to overcome the same. They just need to stay focused from the 1st minute to the 48th, and not develop a sense of complacency when the sailing is smooth.
Where to watch Heat vs Celtics?
Tune in to ESPN to catch the national coverage of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. NBA League Pass will cover the game as well, especially for fans on-the-go. Sony Six will broadcast the game in India.
Published 18 Sep 2020, 12:22 IST