The NBA is in its final stages, and this Tuesday, September 15, begins the definition of who takes home the Eastern Conference title. The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat will decide who will take the title and represent the East in this league’s big final.
CELTICS TOOK DOWN THE CURRENT CHAMPIONS
The Boston Celtics path was not easy at all. In the quarterfinals, they defeated the rivals Philadelphia 76ers by a surprising 4-0, with an absolute dominance. In the conference semifinal, they faced the defending champions, Toronto Raptors, and had to sweat in order to get through them.
In a duel that lasted until game 7, the strong defenses prevailed. This is the biggest strength of this duel for the Celtics, since in the previous phase, their offensive style of play was very effective, and in this one, they had to dealt with a team that scores a lot.
Games with lower scores, a bigger shot contesting, and a strong defense inside the key.
In only one of those 7 games, Boston conceded more than 100 points, which proves the fact they have the best defense of all the teams that are still disputing these playoffs, with an average of only 101.9 points conceded, even beating the second best defensive team.
The great intensity of the team without the ball, is also shown in the rebound dispute. The Celtics, amongst the teams still alive in the competition, only lose to the Lakers in the number of rebounds, which is possible through a very strong shot contest and second ball dispute.
HEAT SHATTERED THE BIG FAVORITES
Although the East side has some top-quality teams, such as the Celtics, and the defending champions Toronto Raptors, the vast majority appointed to the Milwaukee Bucks as the big favourites for the conference title.
The Heat came from a previous series with no major problems against the Indiana Pacers. A team who puts a lot of intensity in its defense, has a very strong transition game, and it wouldn’t give Indiana time to have a reaction in such a vertical game.
Against the Bucks, they were going to face Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team, the most effective offense of the season. And once again, they showed their great capacity regarding the intensivity in man marking. The series finished with a surprising 4-1 for the Miami team.
The Heat knew how to control well the offensive force of the Bucks, didn’t allow Antetokounmpo much space inside the key, and limited the Greek throughout all the matches. Even in the only match won by the Bucks, the team showed improvement without Giannis, became lighter, more intense, even though defending worse.
Heat put together the strength of an harmonized group, where several players have the ability to score, put up double digits, and all of this makes a lot of difference.
In the decisive game, 6 players put up 10 points or more. They are the 5th most effective team in the playoffs, with an average of 112.1 points per game.
They possess great teamwork, a lot of movement, intensity, and their main goal when they have the ball possession, is to accelerate the transition passing or to find a free player in the build up of the offensive phase.
One data that contributes a lot is the effectiveness in the outside shooting. They are the third team with the highest percentage in the 3 point shooting. The total is in 38% shooting outside the perimeter.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE EASTERN FINAL?
First of all, balance! I don’t see any of the two teams applying a 4-0 or 4-1. I believe in the Celtics strength to win this title, but I wouldn’t find anything absurd about Miami winning this final.
Both teams knocked out very tough opponents. The Celtics and the Heat have a similar game in some points, which features intensity without the ball, and both adapting themselves to a more vertical game.
NBA predictions: Which are the best betting markets for this final?
Because this is a balanced match, the winning odds are very attractive. In my opinion, the Celtics odds are what I was expecting them to be. It’s a team that defends in an almost impeccable way, and has had very decisive players. For the first game, the Celtics win is paying 1.80 at Bet365.
The point lines should come near the 209 or 210.5, and I really find it a fair line, however with a bigger propensity to the over.
Even though the Celtics possess this very strong defense, and the Heat have already stopped the best offense in the league, I believe in a more dynamic game than it was in the semi-finals. The Heat use the 3 point shooting very well while the Celtics put up a game of bigger infiltration, and they are pretty good at that.
Speaking of players, it’s good to once again keep an eye on the point lines of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, besides the rebound lines of Daniel Theis, from the Boston Celtics.
On the Miami side, I like the point lines of Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic. Both of them are very involved in this Heat’s game model.
The Eastern Conference finals start this Tuesday, and it seems that we will have a lot of emotion in each match. Don’t miss it!