The Eastern Conference finals are headed to Boston tied at 1-1, with the Celtics stealing homecourt by virtue of their convincing 127-102, win in Game 2.
The Heat took a tough, hard-fought Game 1 behind 41 points from star Jimmy Butler.
The Celtics bounced back with that blowout win in Game 2, sending a message that this series wasn’t going to be easy for either side.
The return of Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and big man Al Horford proved vital for the leprechauns in Game 2.
Now with the physical series shifting to Beantown, many are saying they see no way Miami can win this series unless Boston completely wets the bed.
One of those Heat doubters is FS1 personality Chris Broussard, who gave his take on “First Things First.”
“This is not a prisoner of the moment take,” Broussard said. “Miami may win another game ( I actually predicted Boston in 6), but they are not winning this series. The Celtics are simply the better team. We can all see it.”
The Boston Celtics are the more complete team coming into the series, and they also seem to be fairly healthy. Miami is missing six-time All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, whom they traded for in the offseason. The championship point guard has now missed four consecutive playoff games, dating back to the last two games of the Sixers series. The Heat need him on the floor for his court savvy and shot-creating ability.
Celtics Are Just Better
After dispatching of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets in a four-game sweep, the Celtics then offed defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in an epic seven-game series.
“Cram City,” didn’t have All-Star Khris Middleton, and that played a role in Boston advancing, as unfortunately injuries are a part of the game.
In many ways, that Bucks series prepared the C’s for anything. Getting over the hump against the defending champs is traditionally a sign that a team is ready to take a championship leap. The Celtics’ belief in themselves has shown in their play thus far in this series.
“The Celtics…We all see it. Better offensively, defensively, and via the eye test,” Broussard insisted. “This will be Boston’s easiest series. Only Boston can beat itself.”
After watching the first two games of the series, Broussard is correct. The eye test does tell you the Celtics are the better and more complete team. But they were also the better and more complete team against an injured Bucks team — and the series still went seven games. In fact, they avoided elimination twice in that series, winning games six and seven.
Don’t Count Miami Out: They’re Gritty And Well-Coached
The Heat are not the more talented team, they’re not the bigger or more athletic team. But they’re extremely gritty and well-coached by two-time championship winning coach Erik Spoelstra. Jimmy Butler is uber tough on both ends of the court. Those two leaders won’t allow Miami to just roll over as Broussard is insinuating.
Boston may be the better team, but every advantage they currently hold won’t mean a thing if they don’t handle business at home.
Expect the next two games to be even more intense and physical than the first two games were. The most desperate team will likely prevail.