This week, the Celtics appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years. They faced the Miami Heat, but this time in a bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
To keep athletes safe and prevent further spread of coronavirus, a sports bubble is created where all matches are held in one or two locations for that particular conference or entire league. Other sports leagues have been taking this approach to their playoffs including the NHL, MLB, WNBA, etc. These strict measures call for daily COVID testing, and the players must agree to not expose themselves to anyone outside of their bubble. So far, it has been working because the teams have not experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases since the teams have moved into isolation.
During these playoff rounds the Celtics had to beat the 76ers in the first round and the Raptors in the semifinal round. Miami had to go through the Pacers in the first round and beat the Bucks in the semifinal. The team who wins this series between Boston and Miami will move on to compete in the NBA Finals.
In Game 1, things were down to the wire and went to overtime. The game was tied at 108 at the end of the 4th quarter and in OT, Jimmy Butler of the Heat hit the game winning shot with 12 seconds left. The Heat then hit a couple of free throws to win the game 117-114. The Celtics MVP of the game was Jayson Tatum who scored 30 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double.
In Game 2, the Celtics tried to come back from their OT Loss, as Boston had a halftime lead of 60-47. The green gave up the lead on a 11-0 scoring run in the 3rd quarter. The game went back and forth between teams but The Heat won the game, as former Suns star Goran Dragic hit the two free throws in the 4th and the Heat never gave up that lead for the rest of the game. Miami took a 2-0 lead in the bubble.
In Game 3, the Celtics really needed to get out of the 2-0 hole and they did. The Celtics won 117-106. Jayson Tatum was the Celtics MVP who had 25 points and 14 rebounds in the game, despite Jaylen Brown being the Celtics leading scorer with 26 points.
In Game 4, the Celtics wanted to keep the momentum from Game 3 win. The Celtics lost 109-112 as Rookie Tyler Herro scored 37 points in the game. Now the Celtics are down 3-1 at this point. Which means if the Heat win one more game they are off to the NBA finals.
In Game 5, the Celtics did not start well as Miami was leading 58-51. At the beginning of the 3rd Quarter, the Celts went on a 13-0 run to take the lead for the 1st time in the game. They never gave up that lead for the rest of the game and the green won 121-108 to make it a 3-2 series.
The Celtics will need to secure both Games 6 & 7 to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals facing LeBron and the Lakers who are playing inspiring basketball.