Heat Take Game 1 Against Celtics in 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Can They Keep Up Their 3-Point Success?

The 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Finals kicked off on Wednesday, May 17, with the Boston Celtics hosting the Miami Heat in Game 1. The Heat defeated the Celtics 123-116 to take a 1-0 series lead and steal home-court advantage in the series.[0]

The game was heavily focused on the Heat's recent playoff success, which is heavily predicated on the 3-pointer.[1] In terms of 3-point Attempt Rate, Miami ranks sixth with a rate of 38.1%, and ranks eighth in Accuracy with a percentage of 36.4%.[1] Max Strus and Duncan Robinson, two spacers, have provided the Heat with significant minutes, and their performance has been impressive with Kyle Lowry also contributing to the team's success on the court.[1] In the playoffs, Caleb Martin has proven to be a top-notch wing defender and has also showcased his impressive 38% shooting accuracy from beyond the arc.[1]

The Celtics, on the other hand, should expect their offense to continue to generate a ton of 3s as the Heat struggle defending the 3-point line.[1] During the Playoffs (including the Play-In Tournament), the Heat have been ranked 17th in terms of Opponent 3-point Attempt Rate Allowed, with a rate of 40%. This is an improvement from their regular season ranking of 29th, where they allowed a rate of 39.7%.[1]

Jimmy Butler of the Heat is an exceptional leader for this group, and the team will need him to play as he did against the Bucks if they want to have a chance at beating a Celtics team coming into this series at full strength.[2] Butler has a consistent strategy of charging forward and has a talent for initiating physical contact in order to reach the goal line.[3] With an average of 31.1 points, 5.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, the Marquette player is currently leading the team in all three categories.[3] Butler recorded a total of 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in the victory against the Knicks during Game 6.[4]

According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Celtics vs. Heat odds give the Celtics an 8.5 point advantage, with an over-under of 213.[3] Despite the Heat's recent success, the Celtics are the better team on paper.[5] As the number, the Heat made their way into the postseason.[5] The team landed on the 8th seed following a defeat by the Atlanta Hawks on their home court in the opening round of the NBA play-in tournament.[5] However, the Heat made a “remarkable turnaround” by getting past the No. The Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the No. 1 seed.[5] 5 seed New York Knicks.[5]

According to Mannix, the Celtics are by far the best team that the Heat have come across.[5] I doubt that the Heat team can compete with the Celtics, especially without Tyler Herro on the roster.[5] Jaylen Brown is just one of the many options the Celtics have to throw at Jimmy Butler.[5] When it comes to the center position, Al Horford brings a unique level of skill compared to players such as Mitchell Robinson, who played against Bam Adebayo.[5] If the Celtics remain focused, I believe they can wrap up this series in just five games.[5]

In order to compete against the Heat, who are fueled by a strong sense of motivation and confidence, the Celtics must be fully prepared. Additionally, the Heat are carrying a significant chip on their shoulders.[6]

0. “Eastern Conference finals live updates – Heat vs. Celtics Game 1 – ESPN” ESPN, 18 May. 2023, https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/37665731/eastern-conference-finals-live-updates-game-one-boston-celtics-miami-heat

1. “Heat vs. Celtics Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction | NBA Playoffs Game 1 Betting Preview (May 17)” The Action Network, 17 May. 2023, https://www.actionnetwork.com/nba/heat-vs-celtics-odds-pick-game-x-prediction-preview-nba-playoffs-may-17-2023

2. “Heat's Erik Spoelstra on Stopping Celtics' Tatum, Brown: ‘Easier Said Than Done'” Bleacher Report, 17 May. 2023, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10076407-heats-erik-spoelstra-on-stopping-celtics-tatum-brown-easier-said-than-done

3. “2023 Eastern Conference Finals, Heat vs. Celtics line, odds: Proven Heat Expert Releases Pick for Game 1 Battle” SportsLine, 17 May. 2023, https://www.sportsline.com/insiders/2023-eastern-conference-finals-heat-vs-celtics-line-odds-proven-heat-expert-releases-pick-for-game-1-battle

4. “Three biggest questions ahead of Heat-Celtics series” Hot Hot Hoops, 17 May. 2023, https://www.hothothoops.com/p/biggest-questions-miami-heat-boston-celtics-ecf

5. “Chris Mannix shares bold prediction for Celtics-Heat playoff rematch” Yahoo Sports, 16 May. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/chris-mannix-shares-bold-prediction-125500528.html

6. “Celtics vs. Heat live stream, TV channel, how to watch Game 1 online, series schedule, tip times, odds” CBS Sports, 17 May. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/celtics-vs-heat-live-stream-tv-channel-how-to-watch-game-1-online-series-schedule-tip-times-odds

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