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Eastern Conference preview: How the Celtics and Heat match up

Heat guard Jimmy Butler celebrates after a dunk against the Bucks on Sept. 4, 2020.
Heat guard Jimmy Butler celebrates after a dunk against the Bucks on Sept. 4.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will meet in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday.

Here’s how the teams match up:

No. 3 BOSTON

(postseason offensive rating, 110.2; postseason defensive rating, 101.9)

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No. 5 MIAMI

(postseason offensive rating, 112.9; postseason defensive rating, 105.4)

Season Series: Boston 2-1

Outlook: The Heat made quick work of the Milwaukee Bucks while it took Boston seven games to send the defending champion Toronto Raptors home. Miami is led by guard Jimmy Butler, the rare star who doesn’t need to score to put a huge imprint on the game. Alongside center Bam Adebayo and rejuvenated guard Goran Dragic, the Heat have a lot of firepower and balance. The Celtics have that same kind of balance. Wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are two of the best young players in the league, and veteran guard Kemba Walker is a threat. Forward Gordon Hayward is expected to return at some point in the series from an ankle injury. Both teams are deep and the series has the potential to be great.

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Prediction: Celtics in 7

SCHEDULE

Gm 1 Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Gm 2 Thursday, 4 p.m., TNT

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Gm 3 Saturday, 5:30 p.m., TNT

Gm 4 TBD

Gm 5 TBD*

Gm 6 TBD*

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Gm 7 TBD*

* if necessary

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