Gear up for yet another intense match-up. The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will face in the playoffs for the third time in four years, and it’s in the conference finals stage once again. Their regular season series also ended in a 2-2 tie.

Catch the game tomorrow at 8:30 AM, Manila time.

HOME: Boston Celtics (0-0)

Projected starting five:

  • Derrick White
  • Marcus Smart
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Al Horford

The Celtics will be coming off a confidence-boosting series win against the Philadelphia 76ers. They won after being down 2-3, courtesy of back-to-back epic performances from their main man, Jayson Tatum. The All-Star began shooting 1-for-14 in Game 6 before scoring 16 fourth quarter points en route to a victory. Then, in the do-or-die, he poured in 51 points to complete the comeback and also set a new NBA record for most points scored in a Game 7.

Such is more internal ammo for the next crucial round – as if he needed more. Tatum averaged 30.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game in four meetings vs. the Heat this season. In their matchup last December 1st, he actually dropped 49 points, his second-highest output on the year.

Number two man Jaylen Brown is also in the same sphere as he put up 30.3/7.8/4.3 with 57.6%/40%/88.2% splits vs. Miami in the regular season. We should see him remain in that role, and even take the reins on same games.

The third scorer role will be up for grabs as per usual, which will either be Malcolm Brogdon, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White. Horford and other big man Robert Williams could be the X-factor, though, as they can outrebound the Heat to alter the series in their team’s favour.

The Celtics are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games at home.

AWAY: Miami Heat (0-0)

Projected starting five:

  • Gabe Vincent
  • Max Strus
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Bam Adebayo
  • Kevin Love

The Heat have welcomed the underdog status with open arms. They just booted the number 1 seed and owners of the best record in the NBA Milwaukee Bucks in five games, then followed it up by knocking off the New York Knicks in six games. They did all of that without key scorer Tyler Herro.

Jimmy Butler (21.5 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 4.0 APG) and Bam Adebayo (25.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 SPG) both performed well vs. Boston this season. The former, however, slowed down in the second round against the Knicks (24.3 PPG, 43.2 FG%) after an all-time series facing the Bucks (37.6 PPG, 59.7%), likely due to the ankle injury he suffered in New York during Game 1.

Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, and Caleb Martin are taking turns as the main secondary weapon, and while all have outside shots, none are particularly consistent in their overall production. We’ll see how well it can fare after a few games. One thing’s for sure, though, the Heat have to step up in rebounding. Their losses to the Atlanta Hawks (play-in) and Knicks all involved getting manhandled on the boards.

The Heat are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games. 


Handicap: The Celtics (-8.5) don’t cover the spread.

Over/Under: The total goes under 210.5.