Celtics face Heat on the road in rematch of 2020 East Finals

Justin Quinn
·2 min read

The last time these two teams met, it was in a Game 6 showdown in the Disney NBA restart where the Miami Heat sent the Boston Celtics home.

It’s safe to say the Celtics will have a chip on their shoulder for this rematch — but will they have the horses to get the win? Already down starting point guard Kemba Walker and reserve wing Romeo Langford as the pair rehabilitate from their respective knee and wrist issues, the team is also to be without reserve wing Javonte Green (health and safety protocols) as well as possibly guards Marcus Smart and Jeff Teague.

And while the Celtics managed to get the better of a reeling Toronto Raptors on Monday, it would be a mistake to look at the Heat’s 3 – 3 record and assume their struggles equate to an easy win.

While Miami did drop a game to the Orlando Magic, their other two losses came to a team that very nearly beat Boston (the Milwaukee Bucks) and a very solid Dallas Mavericks team.

Whatever ails Miami, it’s likely akin to the stumbles that Boston has been making as they try to get back to the teams they were in the bubble while ironing out the kinks created by adding new players to the rotation.

In their last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Heat even ran a two-big lineup of Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk to start. So, we may well see plenty of the same for the Celtics should they roll with the same kind of retro frontcourt experiment.

Curiously, Miami has been playing without a traditional point guard in their starting lineup, limiting veteran Goran Dragic’s floor time in a likely bid to keep him fresh for the postseason in what we may well see from Walker when he returns.

This should be a tight one given the two teams’ history — “It was sickening, it felt like we didn’t leave everything out there,” related Semi Ojeleye ahead of the contest — and it could go either way; Smart and Teague’s availability may well be the deciding factor of the game.

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