Q: Ira, so what are your thoughts on the Heat vs, Celtics? What are the keys for the Heat? I think Tyler Hero needs to have a big series. – Joel.
A: I believe you have hit on something significant. If the Heat are forced to open the series in the absence of Kyle Lowry, it likely means Max Strus and Gabe Vincent again starting. So that, to a degree, could allow the Celtics to put Marcus Smart defensively on Jimmy Butler and somewhat rest Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on that end on Max Strus and Gabe Vincent (with all due respect to Max and Gabe). So while I doubt Erik Spoelstra starts Tyler Herro, I could see him getting into the rotation earlier than previous series. Tyler was a huge swing vote the last time the teams met in the playoffs and I would expect that to be the case again.
Q: It may well come down to who can get hot with their threes, and Boston has been red hot in their last two games against the Bucks. We sure could use a revival of the long ball in this upcoming series. If there ever was a time for Duncan Robinson to reignite, it is now. – Roland.
A: I agree about the longball thought. I’m not so sure about the Duncan Robinson element. When going against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, you also need defensive components out there. To this point in the postseason, opponents have put a huge defensive target on Duncan. The expectation is that the Celtics would do the same. But, yes, the 3-point shooting likely will have to be better than the 76ers series, a lot better. But also, the Heat likely still will give up their share of 3-point opportunities. That’s just what they do defensively.
Q: So last season when the Heat went from the NBA Finals to losing in the first round it was because of the bubble. But what about the Bucks and Suns going out in the second round this year? So does that mean last season was a fluke for them? – Edison.
A: As Erik Spoelstra says, it’s hard to win in the playoffs. In any round. The Bucks and the Suns learned that this year, as the Heat did last year. It’s what makes the the dynastic teams all the more impressive. As it is, the Heat could make it NBA Finals in two of three years. That, in itself, says plenty about staying power.