Now that the Miami Heat’s matchup for the Eastern Conference Finals is set, a look at three questions facing them before they take on the Boston Celtics.
It’s been three days since the Miami Heat’s Game 5 victory and elimination of the Milwaukee Bucks, and it’ll be three more days until they take the floor again.
The good news? They can start prepping and isolate film and footage to monitor until then, given that their opponent for the Eastern Conference Finals is finally confirmed.
The Boston Celtics won an epic, defensive standoff of a Game 7 over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, punching their ticket into the next round for a matchup with Miami. Game one is slated for Tuesday evening, with a tip-off time yet to be determined.
It’s nearly guaranteed to be a great series, with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo taking on Boston’s young, All-Star wing duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In the meantime, a look at three questions facing the Miami Heat before the next round kicks off.
Is Tyler Hero finally ready for this matchup?
When looking back at Miami’s three regular season matchups with Boston, one thing stood out: shooting guard Tyler Herro was a relative non-factor. He averaged just 7.3 points per game on 29 percent shooting from the field in those games against the Celtics.
The rookie’s struggles are long behind him now though. He’s taken his game to a new level since the season’s restart in Orlando, even seeing starting appearances from time to time.
In the postseason alone, Herro’s averaging 14.7 points per game, while knocking down 40 percent of his of 6.1 three-point attempts. He’s unarguably the biggest beneficiary to the league’s hiatus, with it serving almost as the critical offseason between first and second years.
Herro’s recent play suggests he will play a larger part against the Boston Celtics this time around.
Has the Miami Heat’s rest served as a detriment or to their benefit?
When the Miami Heat take the floor in Game One, it will have been almost a week since they last played. After playing every other day, they’re coming off of six days with no basketball.
Obviously, to an extent, given that they’re still practicing. But sometimes when teams take such a stretch off a certain degree of rust can set in. Typically, that’s the furthest concern for the Heat and their famous culture that thrives and centers around conditioning.
Still, it will be interesting to see how hot Miami comes out of the gate in their first of potentially seven games against the Celtics. This is the Eastern Conference Finals after all, and setting the tone in Game One could help this team to punching their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Can the Miami offense keep up with the Boston defense?
A part of what made the Boston Celtics series with the Toronto Raptors so exciting, and eventually go a full seven games, was the defensive effort on both sides. Hell, the final game of the series ended with the Raptors scoring 87 to the Celtics’ 92.
Expect for Boston’s defense to make for some wrinkles in this Miami Heat offense, that’s so dependent upon their three-point shooters. In the three games these two teams played during the regular season, Miami scored an average of 102 points per game.
That’s in comparison to the 112 points they boasted on the regular season as a whole. If the Heat end up with struggles scoring, look for them to dig into the bench for an answer, with all of Gabe Vincent, Meyers Leonard, and Chris Silva available and awaiting opportunity.
The Miami Heat will continue their quest for a title on Tuesday, when they face off with the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tip-off won’t be decided until the outcome of the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets’ series is determined.