Beantown Rundown: Who should Celtics be rooting for in Heat-Hawks Play-In Tournament game?

The Boston Celtics finished the 2022-23 NBA season with a 57-25 record, which was good for the two seed in the Eastern Conference. As a result, Boston will be anxiously awaiting the results of Tuesday night’s Play-In Tournament contest between the seven seeded Miami Heat and eight seeded Atlanta Hawks. The winner of this game will earn the seven seed in the East’s playoff bracket and move on to play Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

While this game obviously is a huge deal for both the Heat and the Hawks, it’s a pretty big deal for Boston as well. The East is loaded with solid teams, and who they play in the first-round could dictate how the rest of the playoffs go. If they get in a dogfight of a series, could that drain them when it comes to a potential deep playoff run? Or could a quick sweep make them rusty for what could be a date with the Philadelphia 76ers in the semi finals round?

Considering how good Boston has been throughout the season, they are going to be heavy favorites to come out on top in this series one way or another. But who should they be pulling for to win this game? Let’s analyze this matchup from a Celtics perspective and see which side they should throw their support behind.

Who should the Celtics want to face in the first-round of the playoffs?

Well, let’s not beat around the bush here; the Celtics will obviously be hoping the Hawks somehow find a way through the Heat and manage to become their first-round playoff opponent. There are quite a few reasons for this that we will look at in a second, but there’s no sense delaying the obvious, as there aren’t going to be many fans who will tell you they are looking for a first-round matchup with the Heat.

Changes come fast and furious in the NBA, and nobody can tell you that better than the Heat and Hawks. Miami was in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics last season, while the Hawks made an unexpected run to the ECF the season before in 2021. Now, both teams are fighting for their lives in the Play-In Tournament.

Right off the bat, the Celtics are going to remember their hard-fought ECF series against Miami last season and be wary of a first-round matchup with them. Boston won the series in seven games, but had Jimmy Butler’s potential go-ahead three late in the game gone in, the Celtics would have suffered a catastrophic collapse. The Heat always find a way to make things difficult for the C’s.

In the 2022-23 season, the Celtics split their four games with the Heat at two apiece, while beating the Hawks in each of their three games. There are some stipulations for these games; Butler didn’t play in the second game between these two teams, which Boston easily won, before suiting up two days later in their third game and grinding out an overtime victory. Butler missed the final regular season clash between these two teams as well, but Boston didn’t have Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, or Malcokm Brogdon as well.

The Hawks aren’t necessarily a bad team, but they are currently embroiled in quite a bit of turmoil, and they do not match up very well against the Celtics. Dejounte Murray is a solid defender, but you need to have a couple of strong wings and interior anchors to stop Boston, which Atlanta simply doesn’t have. Their offense also runs hot and cold, and against a strong Celtics team, that isn’t going to win you many games.

There’s also the Erik Spoelstra factor that comes with Miami, as pitting him against first year head coach Joe Mazzulla, who had an interesting first year in charge of the team, could be a nightmare. Spoelstra nearly outcoached Ime Udoka last season, and chances are he would run circles around Mazzulla. It wouldn’t necessarily win the Heat a potential series, but it would likely make things more difficult than Boston would like.

Should the Celtics be scared about facing either of these in the first round? Not necessarily, as the Heat needed monster seasons from Butler and Bam Adebayo to just finish in the seventh seed, and the Hawks remain a complete mess from top to bottom. But it’s clear that the Heat, who have familiarity with the Celtics, and experience beating them, are a much more lethal opponent than the Hawks.

Unfortunately, the Heat are going to be favored to beat the Hawks and set themselves up for a first-round date with the Celtics, which would be a pretty tough matchup for Boston. Make no mistake; the Celtics should beat both of these teams in a first-round meeting, but it’s clear they will be rooting for the Hawks when these two teams square off on Tuesday night.

The post Beantown Rundown: Who should Celtics be rooting for in Heat-Hawks Play-In Tournament game? appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Share the Post:
Enter Your Information Below To Receive Free Fitness Tips, Health News, And Articles.

By opting in you agree to our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

By opting in you agree to our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Generated by Feedzy