3 things the Heat need to do to beat the Celtics

Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0)(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0)(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports) /

For the third time in four years, these two heavyweights are meeting in the Eastern Conference finals. The Miami Heat enter the series as the eighth seed and will look to be only the second eighth seed in NBA history to make it to the NBA Finals. In fact, according to ESPN’s Analytics, the Heat only have a 3% chance to beat the Celtics.

If the Heat do these three things vs the Boston Celtics, I believe they have more than a 3% chance to win the series.

1. Bam Adebayo’s Offensive Presence

Bam Adebayo’s aggressive play has been a significant factor in the Heat’s offensive success, and his diverse skill set creates a challenge for the Celtics. When Adebayo shoots 20 or more times, the Heat are an impressive 5-1. His assertive play not only boosts Miami’s scoring potential but also creates opportunities for his teammates. If the Heat intend to take the series, Adebayo cannot afford to be passive.

2. Jimmy Butler’s Two-Way Impact

Jimmy Butler’s remarkable postseason is the biggest reason the Heat are playing in their third conference finals in four seasons. He’s averaging 31.1 points per game while shooting 53% from the field. However, to win this series the Heat will ask Butler to do a lot on both ends of the court.

Butler has the defensive capability to contain the Celtics’ top scorers, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If Butler can disrupt the Celtics’ rhythm with his defensive abilities, it could tip the scales in favor of the Heat.

3. Kyle Lowry’s Efficiency and Caleb Martin’s Defense Off the Bench

Kyle Lowry’s veteran leadership and high energy off the bench have provided value for the Heat. His performance in Game 6 against the Knicks (11 points, nine assists and three steals) helped Miami close out that series. For the Heat to advance past the Celtics, Lowry needs to maintain this high level of performance.

Caleb Martin’s defensive abilities will be crucial in containing Tatum and Brown. His agility and length make him Miami’s best non-Butler/Bam option to guard Boston’s top scorers. Even though Martin will likely begin this series coming off the bench, he should see plenty of time defending Tatum and Brown in important moments of this series, and potentially at the end of games.