The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are set to face off in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Celtics (48-24) come off a wild seven-game series against the Toronto Raptors. On the other hand, the Heat (44-29) surprisingly dominated the one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and won the series in five games.
Miami enters the series completely healthy, while Boston hopes their talented small forward Gordon Hayward can return from an ankle injury. Here is my game by game prediction for this series.
Overview: Boston will dominate from the tip-off and jump out to a big lead. Tatum, Walker, and Brown will play solid on both ends of the court. Miami will struggle from the perimeter and drop game one to the Celtics by double digits.
Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (24 points), Kemba Walker (22 points)
Winner: Boston Celtics (1-0)
Overview: Miami will bounce back from the blowout loss in game one. Both teams will trade leads throughout the first three quarters, but strong performances from Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder will help win the game for the Heat in a close one.
Top Performer(s): Jimmy Butler (27 points), Jae Crowder (18 points, five three-pointers)
Winner: Miami Heat (1-1)
Overview: Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will start hot once again and open up a big lead. However, stellar play from Miami’s bench will help tie the game entering the fourth quarter. Tatum and Brown will be too much for the Heat to handle in the final minutes and the Celtics will win game three in a nail-biter.
Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (32 points, 12 rebounds), Jaylen Brown (26 points)
Winner: Boston Celtics (2-1)
Overview: Gordon Hayward will likely play game four for the Celtics. He and Marcus Smart will give Boston a burst of scoring and defense late in the game to help them take game four. The Miami Heat will then have to fight out of the daunting 3-1 series hole.
Top Performer(s): Kemba Walker (27 points), Marcus Smart (17 points, six assists)
Winner: Boston Celtics (3-1)
Overview: Miami will come out aggressive in their first elimination game of the playoffs. Boston will have no answer for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who will both dominate in the paint and force a game six.
Top Performer(s): Bam Adebayo (22 points, 14 rebounds), Jimmy Butler (23 points)
Winner: Miami Heat (3-2)
Overview: Miami will have all the momentum after a strong win in game five. However, Jayson Tatum and company will have other plans. Tatum will prove his superstardom once again and carry the Celtics to a game six win. Boston will advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (35 points, nine assists)
Winner: Boston Celtics (4-2)