ASK IRA: Has depth of talent become the ultimate Heat hurdle vs. Celtics?

Q: Play this exact Heat team against Celtics missing both Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday and the Heat would probably win that series. – Rip.

A: I get where you are coming from, in regard to the Heat being without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier for this series. But these Celtics are more than just one or two players, arguably with the NBA’s best starting lineup this side of the Nuggets, also with Jaylen Brown and Game 4 star Derrick White in the mix. It is why Boston is built to withstand this latest injury to Kristaps Porzingis, at least at this stage of the postseason. And while I agree that the Heat built a roster with considerable depth, like the ailing starters, the reserves also aren’t 100%, when now also considering the ailments of Duncan Robinson and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Injuries skew the overall picture. But quality depth of talent trumps all. That the Celtics have.

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Q: Isn’t it time to play Thomas Bryant at backup center? There’s not much point in 0 points in 6 minutes from Kevin Love. – Jaques, Coral Gables.

A: Actually, it’s probably time to play Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jovic to every last breath, considering the lack of tomorrows. This is not a time to turn to a third- string center for salvation. If anything, with Kristaps Porzingis out, it might be time to fully explore any and every possibility of small ball, or even get Love back more involved in the mix.

Q: Ira, Caleb Martin put the Celtics away in Game 7 last year in Boston. He needs to do it again. – Sam.

A: Based on the attrition the Heat have dealt with in this series, it’s not as if there are many alternatives. If nothing else, one more big game in Boston by Caleb Martin would remind the Heat of what once was, and perhaps what could be again, with Caleb with the right to enter free agency in the offseason.