The NBA season is underway and we have already seen some amazing games in past few days play out. However, it is the clash of old finalists that we want to focus on today, as the Miami Heat visit the Boston Celtics for the first time this season. The Celtics made it all the way to the Finals in 2022, when they lost in 6 games to Steph Curry and the Warriors, while the Heat surprised everyone by getting out of the East only to the thwarted by the reigning champions Denver Nuggets in June this year. In addition, these two sides have clashed in the Eastern Conference Finals two years in a row, and both times we were treated to amazing 7-round series that went down to the wire: if these was a rivalry in the East at the moment, you could definitely say this is the one ti look out for.

To make matters better, both sides have had a winning start to their season, as the Celtics went into madison Square Garden and overcame the Knicks – although not in the smoothest of ways – while Miami took care of the Detroit Pistons at home. The significant difference between Boston and Miami is that the Celtics significantly improved their roster over the off season, considering the additions of one time champion guard Jrue Holiday – who is also among the best defenders in the league, and shooting big-man Kristaps Porzingis. The Heat on the other hand, lost two important pieces of their playoff run in 2023 in Gabe Vincent and Max Strus – who joined the Lakers and Cavs respectively. However, the return to full fitness of Tyler Herro, one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, is a very promising sign for Miami, especially after the departure of Strus, who was one of their main shooters in the playoffs last season – and an integral part of their win over Boston in the Conference Finals.

Many analysts around the NBA consider Boston and Milwaukee to be levels above every other team in the Eastern Conference, but this is not necessarily the case: as we saw in the past few seasons, Miami are a well-equipped and coached team that can surprise many in a long series in the postseason. In addition, unlike Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, their main starts do not have a record of being injury-prone in the long run, while the likes of Tatum, Porzingis, Lillard and Embiid have all had their physical issues in recent postseasons. With that being said, this clash of old finalists should be won by Boston: they are in good form, and if they are able to overcome their slight lack in length – having lost Robert Williams III in the Holiday trade – and therefore keep Bam Adebayo relatively quiet in the paint, they’ll win their second straight game this season. However, keep an eye on Jimmy Butler: he loves a big game against Boston, as recent matches have shown.

Boston Celtics to Win – 1.31

Miami Heat to Win – 3.60