Poll: Who Will Win Celtics/Heat Series?

The Celtics and the Heat weren’t necessarily the teams that most fans and league observers expected to square off in the Eastern Finals this season, but the conference’s No. 3 and No. 5 seeds will fight for the right to play in the NBA Finals after knocking off the top two clubs in the East, Milwaukee and Toronto.

It’s a fascinating matchup, and one with no obvious favorite. The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag currently list the Celtics at -137 for the series, meaning you’d have to risk $137 on a bet to win $100. That makes the Heat the slight underdogs at +118.

However, the Heat were the more impressive of the two teams in the second round, dispatching the top-seeded Bucks with relative ease in a five-game series. Miami held Giannis Antetokounmpo reasonably in check until he was sidelined with an ankle injury. And Jimmy Butler led a balanced offensive attack that saw four players – Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, and Jae Crowder – average at least 15 PPG, while Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kelly Olynyk stretched the floor.

The Heat’s 113.0 offensive rating was second among the eight teams in the second round, behind only the Lakers, and their 106.6 defensive rating was the best of any team not involved in the Boston/Toronto series. Miami’s play in that impressive second-round win is a big reason why 11 of 22 experts at ESPN.com, including Bobby Marks, Tim MacMahon, and Ramona Shelburne, are picking the Heat to knock off the Celtics and make the NBA Finals.

The Celtics won’t be an easy out by any means though. Boston’s offense is a little more well-rounded than Milwaukee’s attack, with a number of players handling play-making responsibilities — if Kemba Walker doesn’t have it going, as was the case in the last two games of the second round against Toronto, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and even Marcus Smart can step up and shoulder the bulk of the scoring duties.

And while the Bucks had the NBA’s best defense during the regular season, the Heat will be tasked in the Eastern Finals with solving the defense that has ranked first overall during the postseason so far. The Celtics’ defensive rating in the playoffs is 101.9, including an eye-popping 100.3 mark in their seven games vs. the Raptors. Underrated center Daniel Theis helps anchor the unit, which is versatile, switchable, and features several dangerous perimeter defenders in Smart, Tatum, and Brown.

With Game 1 of the series set to tip off in a matter of hours, we want you to weigh in with your two cents. Who do you think will win this series? The Celtics or the Heat? How many games do you expect it take? And do you think either club has a legit shot to win the NBA Finals?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to explain your pick!

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16 thoughts on “Poll: Who Will Win Celtics/Heat Series?

  1. Sillivan

    Celtics have better talents but Heat are a better team with better depth
    I pick Heat

    Dragic or Walker?

  2. C-Daddy

    There are a lot of similarities between the Heat and Raptors so I see this series playing out similarly to the Celtics-Raptors series – the Celtics are the more talented team and will ultimately win in six or seven games.

    • Jeff Zanghi

      I take Tatum and Brown in those two scenarios. However I think where the advantage goes the other way is that I think the Heat have 8/9 guys who would be the Celtics 5th best player (or higher). In other words I think Tatum is better than Butler, then Butler might be the #2, then I’d probably take Brown and Walker, then Bam, then Hayward and Smart. but after that… I think I take all Heat players (with the exception of Theis in there somewhere) but point is… Basically the heat’s top 8/9 players would be the Celtics 6th man (or better) — so IF the Heat have a chance to win… it’s going to be because of their depth

      • Curtisrowe

        Agreed, Wanamaker is currently the 6th man on Boston, he wouldn’t see any minutes on Miami. But Celts starting lineup is beasting.

  3. imindless

    Celtics are deeper than heat. Heat have had to guard giannis and tj warren. Celtics can throw brown, tatum, walker, hayward, smart all can throw up 20 ppg….Celtics in 6

  4. El Don

    Miami will prevail, Bam will be the difference. BOS won’t be able to match him in either side of the court.
    Once in the finals Miami will be an easy prey to either LAL or DEN!

  5. x%sure

    I thought the Heat would get better betting odds. It probably would have helped them get fired up and keep all their depth on the same page. But they do a good job of that anyway. Heat will roll. Agree that the WC team should be favored in the finals, no matter who’s left.
    How much money should Adebayo be offered?

  6. Curtisrowe

    I believe the Celtics will be the team who will have the honor of being beaten senseless by the Lakers.

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