Celtics in 5
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) May 17, 2023
Obviously, Pierce is going to support the team that he spent the majority of his NBA career with, but he may be undervaluing the Heat in this series.
The Celtics did win Game 7 against the Sixers fairly easily at home, but the team was down 3-2 in the series before rallying to win the final two games. Meanwhile, Miami has been impressive in the playoffs considering that it is the No. 8 seed and didn’t initially have home-court advantage in either of its first two series.
The Heat upset the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the best record in the NBA in the regular season, in just five games in the first round of the playoffs. Jimmy Butler (31.1 points per game in the playoffs) dominated against Milwaukee, scoring 56 points in Game 4 to lead the Heat to a win.
In the second round, Miami beat a scrappy New York Knicks team in six games, winning each of its three games at home. Miami is a perfect 5-0 at home in the playoffs and 6-1 in the postseason including the team’s two play-in tournament games.
The Celtics and Heat have a lot of history in the Eastern Conference Finals, as this is the third time in four seasons that the teams will match up at this point in the playoffs.
Miami won the first meeting in the 2019-20 campaign, but it eventually lost in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston got revenge last season, beating the No. 1-seeded Heat in seven games to advance to their first NBA Finals since Pierce’s time with the franchise ended.
However, the Celtics came up short against the Golden State Warriors.
The Heat and Celtics are extremely familiar with each other, which should make for a fun series. Since Boston has yet to close out a team in less than six games in the playoffs this season, Pierce may be getting a little bold with his series pick.