Boston Celtics fans come after Miami Heat after they advance to Eastern Conference Finals

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Another unexpectedly successful season for the Miami Heat will continue, as they earned a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals with a six-game victory over the New York Knicks in the second round. There, they will face the Boston Celtics, who blasted past the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of their second-round series on Sunday.

In the final seconds of that contest, the home crowd in Boston started chanting “beat the Heat” in anticipation of the next series.

This will be the third time in the last four years these two teams have played for a spot in the NBA Finals. The Heat were victorious in 2020 inside of the Walt Disney World Resort bubble, while Boston came through last year by the skin of its teeth in Game 7.

Last year, the Heat had trouble manufacturing enough points to get past Boston, partly due to injuries. They failed to reach 100 points in three of the last four games of the series, and in Game 4 and Game 5, both of which were losses, they mustered just 82 and 80 points, respectively.

The big negative for Miami this time around is the hand injury that has sidelined guard Tyler Herro since the first round of the postseason. He averaged 20.1 points and 4.2 assists a game in the regular season, and his ability to create off the dribble will be sorely missed.

For the team to defeat the Celtics and return to the NBA Finals, it will need to receive production from players such as Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus. After a regular season in which he looked unproductive, Lowry played well against New York, giving Miami some scoring, facilitating and 3-point shooting off the bench.

The Heat will have to find a way to contain Jayson Tatum, who erupted for 51 points in Game 7 on Sunday. However, Celtics fans will have to be equally concerned with corralling Jimmy Butler, who has been nothing short of sensational in the playoffs so far.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.