Previewing the rest of the NBA playoff series now that the play-in dust has settled

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
3 of 4

1 Celtics vs 8 Heat

Now shifting over to the Eastern Conference we get yet another conference finals rematch in round one. But this one should look pretty different from last year. The Heat will be without injured star Jimmy Butler, but even with him, I’m not sure they have the horses to make this a series.

This Celtics team has gone up a level since last year and adding Kristaps Porzingis should really help them against Miami. He’ll be a zone-buster in the middle, and he’ll be able to punish the Heat for switching his picks with Bam Adebayo.

The Heat offense will now be extremely dependent on Tyler Herro and the Celtics should have plenty of elite defenders to throw at him. They are going to need a repeat of last year’s historic shooting outlier, and even that may not be enough. The Celtics are just a far better team on both ends of the floor this season.

I think Erik Spoelstra is a coaching genius and he won’t make this easy for the Celtics, but I think Boston will overcome the challenge and come into this series hungry for revenge after last season. There will be plenty of hoopla and buzz around this series, but unfortunately, I think Boston will quickly take care of business.

The pick: Celtics in 4