Paul Pierce says Miami Heat are only team in Eastern Conference that scares him for Boston Celtics'
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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 31-25 record. As such, on the surface, they don’t necessarily appear to be threats to some of the top contenders in the conference. However, retired Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce doesn’t seem to think that’s the case.

He believes Miami has what it takes to test Boston in the playoffs.

It’s understandable for Pierce to think highly of Miami. After all, the Heat defeated the Celtics in last year’s playoffs en route to an NBA Finals trip, where they lost to the Denver Nuggets.

The 2023 Eastern Conference Finals matchup between Miami and Boston had fans thrilled for seven games. After the Heat went up 3-0, the Celtics answered by winning the next three contests to tie the series.

In Game 7, Jimmy Butler and company took care of business, particularly on the defensive end, limiting Boston to 84 points and not allowing any of its players to score more than 19.

Boston’s roster looks different this season, though, as it added Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday to the mix during the offseason. The Celtics also seem to have Miami’s number in this campaign, having already swept the regular-season series 3-0.

However, the Heat have more pressing matters to deal with than looking forward to a rematch with Boston. After reaching as high as the No. 2 seed in late November and holding the No. 4 seed for several days across December and January, they have slid down in the standings.

The good news is that Miami found success after going through the play-in tournament last year. It entered the playoffs with the No. 8 seed before upsetting Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round to pump some major life into its playoff run.

Still, it might be beneficial for the team to secure an outright playoff berth this time around. Fortunately, the Heat appear to have turned things around lately, as they have won the first three legs of their six-game road trip. In addition, seven of their past nine contests have seen them come out on the winning side.

Only time will tell if Miami can sustain its momentum and prove Pierce right in the postseason — even if the Celtics legend hopes he’s wrong.

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Orel writes all day, everyday. During the day, he writes and does research to complete his master's degree in education. During the night, he writes about the league he has loved since the '90s: the NBA.