NBA Basketball

117
Final-OT 1 2 3 4 OT Tot
Miami 18 37 16 35 11 117
Boston 26 29 28 23 8 114
114
3:30 PM PT4:30 PM MT5:30 PM CT6:30 PM ET22:30 GMT6:30 3:30 PM MST5:30 PM EST2:30 UAE (+1)00:3018:30 ET5:30 PM CT21:30 , September 15, 2020
HP Field House, Kissimmee, Florida

Heat, Celtics set for Eastern Conference finals

According to STATS
According to STATS

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics

  1. Boston won two of their three meetings with the Heat this season, though Miami won the lone meeting in the bubble, a 112-106 victory on August 4. The Heat shot just 41.6 percent against Boston this season, only shooting worse against the Lakers (.406).
  2. This will be the fourth postseason series between the Heat and Celtics and the second in the Eastern Conference Finals (Heat 4-3 in 2012). The first three meetings came in consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2012 with the team winning Game 1 going on to win each series.
  3. This will be Boston's 36th Conference Finals all-time, 16 more than any other Eastern Conference team (76ers -- 20). Boston has lost their last three Conference Finals series (2012, 2017, 2018), including against Miami in seven games in 2012.
  4. The Heat return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the eighth time and the first since 2014. Miami has won in their last five Conference Finals appearances, last losing at this stage in 2005.
  5. Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring (24.3 PPG), rebounding (10.3 RPG) and assists (5.3 APG) in their Conference Semifinals win over the Raptors. Tatum is the first Celtic to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in a postseason series since Larry Bird (24.2 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 5.5 APG) in the 1987 NBA Finals against the Lakers.
  6. Jae Crowder made a team-high 22 three-pointers in Miami's Eastern Conference Semifinal series win over Milwaukee. Crowder made at least four threes in each of the last four games of the series, the first player in Heat history to make four threes in four straight postseason games.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots against Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder (99) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

The Miami Heat's path to the Eastern Conference finals has been nothing short of dominant. The Boston Celtics' journey has featured a few more bumps in the road.

But it'll be a clean slate when the teams face off in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series Tuesday night at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

The Celtics, in the East finals for the third time in four seasons, are playing for their first NBA Finals berth since 2010. The Heat are looking to get back to the Finals for the first time since a four-year run of consecutive appearances during the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh era ended in 2014.

During that stretch, Miami eliminated Boston from the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, the latter matchup going seven games in the conference finals. The Heat's Udonis Haslem is the only holdover from those teams, along with his coach, Erik Spoelstra.

Miami swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2020 playoffs before eliminating the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the conference semifinals. The Celtics swept the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round before needing seven games to get past the defending champion Toronto Raptors in Round 2.

As a result of the length of that series, Boston most recently played Friday while Miami has been idle since Sept. 8. The Celtics rode their stars hard down the stretch of their semifinal, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart each playing north of 40 minutes in the final two contests.

"This is a great group. Tough group. Resilient group," Brown said. "We've got a lot of heart. A lot of fight about ourselves. We don't back down from challenges. That's what we need from each other."

The Celtics might be able to count on reinforcements during their series with the Heat as starting forward Gordon Hayward nears his return from a right ankle sprain sustained in the first game of Round 1.

Hayward "looked good" during a workout Monday, according to coach Brad Stevens, though he did not practice with the team. Also of note is that Hayward's wife is expected to go into labor soon with their fourth child, so Hayward might need to leave the bubble.

For the Heat, the hope is that the extended time between games won't cool off their potent offense. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic both are averaging more than 20 points per game during the playoffs, while Bam Adebayo (16.2 points, 11.7 rebounds) and Tyler Herro (14.7 points) have emerged as consistent threats.

"I don't think that we're the underdog," said Butler, who will play in his first conference finals. "I think that we're a really good team. We play together. Everybody knows their role. We just compete."

The Celtics and Heat met three times during the regular season, with Boston winning twice. Miami won the most recent meeting on Aug. 4 in the bubble.

"At the end of the day, we're a totally different team, certainly than the first time we played them in December," Spoelstra said. "And they're a much different team. That's what you expect out of high-quality, high-level teams."

--Field Level Media

Updated September 15, 2020

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