Fixture: Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics
Date & Time: Thursday, September 17th, 7 PM ET (Friday, 4:30 AM IST)
Venue: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
The Boston Celtics trail the Miami Heat 0-1 after the latter edged the nail-biting first game of the series that went to overtime. The two teams traded blows for much of the game, but it was Jimmy Butler and co. who delivered the knockout punch. Now the onus is on the Boston Celtics to recover from that narrow loss and level the series.
Miami Heat Preview
Erik Spoelstra's high-flying Miami Heat side continues to play with the grit and determination one usually associates with potential champions. And that is exactly what one must label them after their impressive Game 1 performance. Despite not having a plethora of superstars to bank on, the Miami Heat have several leaders in the squad who know how to bring the best out of their young players.
Rookie guard Tyler Herro's performance was the perfect example of this, as he fell just one assist short of a triple-double in his NBA conference finals debut. The Miami Heat have a number of options they can rely on when in need of buckets, and the scoring duties were nicely shared once again in Game 1. We can expect more of the same in Game 2.
The best aspect of the brand of basketball that the Miami Heat are playing is their defense. Every single player in their rotation has contributed whole-heartedly on the defensive end of the floor. This has resulted in them making many critical stops in close games.
Key Player - Bam Adebayo
While most of the Miami Heat players stood firm when push came to shove in Game 1, it was NBA All-Star Bam Adebayo who came up with the biggest play of the game. His block to deny Jayson Tatum a dunk to even the scores ultimately proved to be the moment that won the game for his team.
Adebayo has turned into one of the league's most complete centers in just his third year. He's an excellent playmaker, defender, and also a handy scorer. The Miami Heat will need him to continue his hot streak and put in a brilliant shift once again.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics will feel unlucky to have lost such a closely fought battle. They started both the halves in regulation time aggressively but allowed the Miami Heat a way back into the game every single time. In all honesty, the Boston Celtics should never have allowed the game to head into overtime.
Regardless, Brad Stevens will be proud of the effort his team put in. On another day, they could have emerged as the winners.
The Boston Celtics cannot ponder on the moments that caused them to lose Game 1 and must move on immediately. Star forward Gordon Hayward may return from injury to suit up for Game 2 in what could be a major boost for the Celtics.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
Once again, 22-year-old All-Star Jayson Tatum carried the offensive load for the Boston Celtics as he dropped 30 points to go with 14 rebounds. He was also pretty active on the other end of the court as he made 3 steals and 2 blocks to help his team out defensively.
Tatum was far from his efficient best, though, as he shot only 10-24 from the floor. However, he remains the focal point of the Boston Celtics attack, and the main man the Miami heat must try to nullify.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
Heat vs Celtics Prediction
While the Miami Heat are an extremely difficult side to beat right now, the Boston Celtics will fancy their chances of leveling the series. The record NBA champions know they should've taken the game out of the opponent's reach when they had the chance, and will most likely improve heading into Game 2.
Gordon Hayward's involvement will be a crucial factor in determining the winner and in his presence, the Boston Celtics will have another scorer that the Miami Heat will need to worry about. That will give others like Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker more space to work with, and they can be lethal if they find their shooting rhythm. Expect the Boston Celtics to take Game 2, especially if Hayward plays.
Where to watch Heat vs Celtics?
Tune in to ESPN to catch the national coverage of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. For fans on-the-go, NBA League Pass is a fantastic option. Sony Six will broadcast the game in India.