On the Lookout: Celtics, Heat clash in tight race to playoffs

Published May 9, 2021, 4:00 PMRenee Ticzon

With the playoffs just around the corner, the Heat and the Celtics will both try to secure a slot in the East's Top 6 as they face off twice in the next three days.

It’s exactly nine more days until the play-in tournament, and yet the East’s ranking is still getting shuffled around. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics are set to face each other not once, but twice, in the next three days. The outcome will likely determine which of the two teams get a guaranteed playoff spot and which needs to fight in the play-in.

First off, neither team has any momentum. Miami has a 7-3 record, while Boston has a 4-6 record in their last 10 games. Both teams haven’t had a dominant winning streak in quite some time, so their next few games are crucial in taking them out of the play-in bracket.

Not to mention, if the Heat or the Celtics do start getting hot and streaky, they might even have a chance to make it up the 4th or 5th spot.

However, the question remains -- do these two teams have what it takes to make a late season push?

Production has gone down in the month of May for Miami. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo’s points have decreased significantly compared to their last four months. This shouldn’t be too big of a concern especially since they won 3-of-4 games this month.

The Heat, however, need to pick up the pace against their upcoming tougher matchups. Miami still has five games left in the regular season, and they’ll be up against the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and of course, the Boston Celtics.

Fortunately, there’s hope for the Heat as Tyler Herro had an explosive game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had 27 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Herro struggled to find his rhythm all season. Fans were a little disappointed with the young gunner as numbers went down compared to his impressive playoff performance in the bubble. Hopefully, his last performance against the Timberwolves sparks some confidence in him -- something his team surely needs.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are constantly battling inconsistency. The team would win against top teams like the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks, but would lose against lower ranked teams like the Chicago Bulls and OKC Thunder.

Their remaining five games are against the Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Knicks. With their erratic performance this year, it remains to be seen if they can finish strong.

It doesn’t help that Jaylen Brown may be out against the Heat due to a right ankle sprain, along with Robert Williams III who’s also injured. They’ll need to rely heavily on Jayson Tatum to direct and lead their team away from the play-in tournament.

Catch their first game live this Monday at 1:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines via Cignal TV or NBA.smart, free for Smart Signature & Smart Prepaid subscribers with Giga Video subscription.