My prediction for the 2023 Western Conference Finals has been made so now let’s head to the east. The Boston Celtics will host the Miami Heat for the chance to play in the 2023 NBA Finals. Many people had the Celtics making it to this point, but the Heat wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Miami fell to the Hawks in the play-in game to determine the 7th seed. The Heat defeated Chicago to earn the 8th seed in the East. They upset the Bucks and eliminated the New York Knicks to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston took down Atlanta in six games in the first round. It took seven games for the Celtics to eliminate the 76ers to get to this point. This is a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals in the bubble. Can Miami defeat Boston again to reach the NBA Finals?
The Celtics were one of my favorites to get to this point after the trade deadline. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been the best duo in the East all season. They both earned All-Pro selections and Tatum was a MVP candidate earlier in the season. Robert Williams III is the one that controls the paint on the defensive side. If he doesn’t get in foul trouble, he’s a good matchup for Bam Adebayo. When Boston added Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason, they became my favorites in the East. Marcus Smart will give fits to the Miami Heat backcourt. Smart has also stepped up his scoring as he’s the 3rd leading scorer on the team. Can Boston avoid the same disappointment they experience in the bubble? Will this Celtics team make it back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals?
Miami had a disastrous regular season. Before the season began, they were projected as one of the top teams in the East. Unfortunately, they finished the season in 7th place which wasn’t their projected spot. Jimmy Butler is the leader of the team, but they have other guys that can score also. Not counting Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, the Heat have six guys that’s averaging double figures. We know that Oladipo is out, and it looks like Herro will be also. Herro broke his hand in the first round and he still can’t shoot or dribble. Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love have stepped up and contributed when needed. Can “Playoff Jimmy” rise to the occasion one more time? Will the injuries the Heat have suffered finally catch up to them? Will Miami return to the NBA Finals for the second time in four years?
Who Advances to the NBA Finals?
Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler have put together some of the best playoff performances this postseason. Jaylyn Brown can take over a game at any given time. This could turn into a defensive battle seeing both teams are great at applying pressure. Will Boston feel the effects of their grueling seven game series against the Sixers? Who will step up for the Celtics to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylyn Brown? For Miami, they will need to continue their intensity on both ends of the floor. Who will step up and help Jimmy Butler in this series. For me, the Heat really misses the scoring of Tyler Herro, and this series is where it hurts them. My pick from the Eastern Conference to make the NBA Finals is the Boston Celtics.