This is the matchup that I thought would be the most competitive and fun to watch and I am beyond glad that we got it. I think these teams are very similar and matchup very evenly. Both these teams have such a great mix of veteran and young players that all contribute and play together well as a team and I think that is shining more than anything in this weird 2020 in the bubble. The Heat had little to no problem taking down the top record of the league in the Bucks in just 5 games. Their versatility on defense is elite. Jimmy is an elite defender all around and Bam Adebayo is as well. Having a small ball center that can switch onto point guards is quickly becoming an essential in today’s modern NBA. Both teams actually have this. Bam being the obvious one for the Heat as he made all defensive second team. But for the Celtics they actually have 2 guys like that. That is Daniel Theis and Robert Williams. Their offensive/tall center is Enes Kenter. Brad Stevens gets extremely creative with his subs when it comes to his centers including sometimes switching them before 2 minutes in the first quarter has even passed. Both these coaches unique styles and ability to adapt on the fly is another reason this series will be great. They both are elite defensive coaches and the offense is always there as well. They always seem to find ways to get their players in spots on offense where they can succeed and do what they are best at which I think sometimes is the biggest problem for coaches. It is easier said than done though of course. Sometimes, coaches try to mold their players to fit their system when really the job of a coach is the other way around, mold your system to your players. Call offensive sets that put your guys in position where they feel comfortable (for example have a right handed player catch a screen handoff running to his right not his left) which I think is often overlooked skill of a coach. Not only do both these teams have elite defenses, elite coaching and elite offense, they also have elite shot making ability in the 4th quarter down the stretch. This is also made a lot easier if your coach puts you in a good position to succeed in the half court offense like I mentioned earlier. I talked about how the Heat had this “shot making” ability and the Bucks did not and that is why I thought they would beat the Bucks in my preview article for that series. (If you want to look at my take it was spot on at https://vicspx.com/2020/08/31/miami-heat-vs-milwaukee-bucks-ec-semis-preview/ ) The teams main closers down the stretch are Jayson Tatum for the Celtics and Jimmy Butler for the Heat. They have knocked down big shots for the entire playoffs, the entire season and their entires careers. What makes these teams so fun though is that they aren’t the only guys on their team that do that. All last series Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro knocked down timely shot after timely shot. Dragic was the Heat’s leading scorer or tied for it in 2 out of 5 games last series. He is a huge spark to their scoring and is a great team player. For the Celtics, other than Tatum, Kemba is also an elite shot maker down the stretch which we have seen since back to his collegiate days at Uconn. Jaylen Brown knocked down timely shots last series and so did Marcus Smart. Smart’s elite defense will be there all series but if he can shoot well from 3 like he did against the Bucks, that is a very good sign for the Celtics. He shot 39% from 3 against the Raptors compared to his 13% in the Sixers series in the first round. Hopefully for the Celtics he is catching fire just in time for a run. These teams are extremely similar in terms of their “new school” small ball centers, elite defensive players like Jimmy and Bam vs Jaylen Brown and Smart, mixed with elite coaches and great 4th quarter shot making. This series is set up to be the great one and I think it will come down to which team has the “clutch gene” at the end of the game more often than the other. Who can “steal the game” at the end? This could very well go 7 and even if not, all the games will probably be close anyway. I think this is going to be one of the best series so far this playoffs. Feel free to comment/debate in the comments I am all for it.