#1 Seed Boston Celtics vs. #8 Seed Miami Heat

Celtics won the season series 3-0

Jacob’s Outlook and Prediction

I know what you might be thinking… Celtics vs. Heat again, “WOW this is going to be a great series.” Anybody who thinks that way can’t be blamed, I mean Miami has been the thorn in Boston’s side for years now. But there is one big thing you need to know heading into this series, don’t let history fool you. History tells you that Miami will either win or at the very least make it hard on Boston. History tells you that the Heat’s role players will play incredibly and the Celtics’ stars will not. History usually repeats itself, but it won’t this year for one simple reason, Miami got way worse and Boston got way better. This isn’t the same core of Celtics starters that the Heat typically cause issues for, Jrue Holiday is now Marcus Smart, Kristaps Porzingis is now Robert Williams. This also isn’t the same Heat core of the past and guys like Strus and Vincent were big reasons that Miami beat Boston last year. Jimmy not playing is a real bummer, but even he doesn’t make a difference this year, either way, it’d be a rout in favor of the Celtics. But that’s neither here nor there, let’s see what the numbers have to say.

The Celtics and Heat played three times this year, Boston won by an average of 15 points. These guys have been beating people at a historically dominant pace, finishing the season with a +930, which is 300 points higher than the 2022 Suns who also won 64 games. Boston is pummeling teams this year and their offense is unstoppable at times, Miami’s is the complete opposite. The Heat have struggled to put the ball in the basket all year, ranking 21st in offensive rating and 20th in effective field goal percentage. I get it, they still made the playoffs because of their elite defense and ability to muck the game up, but they simply don’t have the personnel to do that against Boston. Bam will be forced to get out on the perimeter to guard Kristaps, freeing things up for Tatum and Brown. This is a matchup nightmare in Miami and this series isn’t going to be close.
Prediction: Celtics Sweep, 4-0

#3 Seed Milwaukee Bucks vs. #6 Seed Indiana Pacers

The Pacers won the season series 4-1 (NBA In-Season Tournament Game included)

Michael’s Outlook and Prediction

This was one of the best rivalries in the NBA this year. #Ballgate following Giannis’ career high. Tyrese’s celebration with the DameTime. Doc Rivers is at the helm after coaching Milwaukee to a losing record (17-19) following Coach Griffin’s termination. The Pacers have one of the best 1-2 punches in the league since Pascal Siakam joined NBA All-Star guard, Tyrese Haliburton, the assists king of the Association. Did I mention Damian Lillard is in the East now?
Without a doubt, the biggest factor in this series is the health of the two-time MVP and top 5 player on the planet: Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is sidelined with a calf injury and the replay of the injury gives you 2019 Playoffs Kevin Durant Achilles vibes. By all accounts, the MRI comes up negative, but this is two years in a row Giannis will not be 100% in the 1st round of the Playoffs.
Five biggest questions that will determine the series
1. Is Khris Middleton ready to shoulder the second option role that he relished when he helped lead the Bucks to many playoffs appearances including the 2021 NBA Championship.
2. Is Dame Lillard able to play enough defense to keep the Pacers’ lead guards in check?
3. Can Myles Turner provide enough rim protection to give the Pacers a little bit of defense?
4. Is Pascal Siakam going to be the best player on the floor when Giannis is out?
5. Who will win the coaching matchup?
I think the answers to the last 3 are going to be in favor of the Pacers. I believe in Rick Carlisle. If Giannis misses multiple games… advantage Pacers.
Prediction: Indiana Pacers over Milwaukee Bucks in 6 games
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As a co-founder of Multiplicity Media, it's an honor to be able to showcase some of the best talent creating sports and entertainment content. I am the host of Chaos and Conversation, Kicking' It With The Brothas, and Mike of All Trades.