2020 Eastern Conference Finals: HEAT-Celtics Preview

The Eastern Conference Finals match up is set for the 2020 NBA Playoffs!

The Shoot or Pass podcast crew give a preview of the HEAT-Celtics games to come, sharing the ultimate factor in the series.

In the latest round of Shoot or Pass, the gang shares their HEAT-Celtics preview. Chevy, Gabe, and Rhoby SHOOT if they agree or PASS if they disagree on the following statement:

Bench play is what will ultimately determine the team that advances to the NBA Finals out of the East.

GABE – SHOOT

This I will SHOOT on because you need a bench. If you at the Raptors and the Bucks, they barely utilized their bench. Consequently, they are out of the playoffs and we are talking about a HEAT-Celtics Preview for the Eastern Conference Finals.

At one point, we were watching Toronto play their starters 38-plus minutes a game. Presumably, they were doing this to try and keep pace with the Boston Celtics, but clearly, that didn’t work out in their favor. Similarly, Houston didn’t go to their bench much. As you know, Mike D’Antoni only runs the same seven guys. At some point, this is going to catch up to you. Fatigue will come faster.

Teams like the Clippers, HEAT, (I’m not ready to say the Lakers) actually use their benches. The HEAT count on guys like Iggy, Tyler Herro, and other guys that can be productive. I like Toronto, but, when you watch their games, the only guys coming off their bench I think was Norman Powell and some other guy I have never heard of – Matt Thomas or something.

There’s no question, you need to have bench production to get far. Unfortunately, having guys play 40-plus minutes a night is not going to cut it.

RHOBY – SHOOT

I’m on board with you, Gabe.

When we talk about the HEAT’s bench, we’re really going to need guys like Tyler Herro, Iggy, and Kelly Olynyk to step it up. As you know, the Celtics are playing excellent defense throughout the playoffs. We know that they are going to be switching on the perimeter to try and slow down Miami, preventing them from getting open shots. Similarly, Tyler and Duncan (Robinson) are going to have to step it up defensively to help us keep “Kardiac Kemba” in check.

We DON’T want to see KARDIAC KEMBA in this series!

On the other end for the Celtics, we still don’t know when exactly Gordon Hayward is coming back. If he does come back, will he be playing at 100%? Is he going to be playing with minutes restrictions or are they going to have him coming off the bench? Who will fill in his shoes in the event he does not play at all? I just don’t think Enes Kanter has a place in this series.

For this reason, the Celtics will have to rely on a guy like Robert Williams.

GABE: Kemba is not your issue. All you have to do with Kemba is attack him, make him work on the defensive end because you can abuse him on offense Every single possession. He is not the greatest defender. If anything, Kemba is the guy you can actually make work on defense to tire him out. Other than that, Tatum is the one you have to worry about.

With regards to Kanter, Billy Donovan even said he can’t play the guy! He was getting killed consistently on the PnRs. He doesn’t move fast enough to keep up. I agree, we will not be seeing Kanter much in this series. The Celtics will count on either Grant or Robert “Time Lord” Williams.

CHEVY – SHOOT

I will go ahead and say SHOOT on this because I think bench play will definitely be important in this series.

With Kanter, I don’t know 100% what is going on with him, but, if he can at least come into this series and play, the Celtics can use his size against the likes of Bam (Adebayo).

The nice part about Miami is that they can play big and small defensively. Subsequently, their length and size is equivalent across the board. This makes it very difficult to score against them in transition as well, as they are so good at getting back across the court quickly to defend.

The biggest thing they will want to do (as Gabe mentions) is try and bully Kemba Walker. Who will the HEAT really focus on? Would you like Marcus Smart to stay open more than Jayson Tatum? I would say so. I mean, Smart might sting you one game, but I’d rather have him beat the HEAT over Jayson Tatum.

RHOBY: Marcus Smart, we welcome you to take as many reckless threes as you want in the series. We’d love that shit!

GABE: Let them do it. If he beats us, we’ll live with it.

CHEVY: Yeah, I think the bench play is definitely going to be a major factor here. Beyond this HEAT-Celtics preview, it will be interesting to see who steps up for Boston!

HEAT-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals schedule (as 9/14)
Game 1MIA @ BOSESPN9/15/20 | 6:30PM EST
Game 2MIA @ BOSESPN9/17/20 | TBD
Game 3BOS @ MIAESPN 9/19/20 | 8:30PM EST

For more NBA content, listen to the Shoot or Pass podcast. New episodes drop every Monday!

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