Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat a series where each team must make tough choices: Youre not expecting it to b –

Chess Tournament

Coaching battles are often referred to as chess matches as a way to illustrate the complexity of the game and the intelligence necessary to out-think the opponent on the way to a win.

This series will be that, for sure, but perhaps the better chess comparison is how each side will have to live with certain decisions to sacrifice options, knowing that theyll have to live with the opponent doing something that hurts.

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat each present the other teams coach with uncomfortable decisions. Each will have to decide which is the most palatable way to get hurt by the other, and hope that, by the end, the best player on the floor can put the other away.

Youre not expecting it to be easy, Spoelstra said on Monday. When you get to the Conference Finals theres four teams left, and its not like the NCAA Tournament where you can just get hot for three weeks. You have to be a good team that has proved it for months, that youve earned that right. The last four teams should be the teams that have the most complexity.

Miamis complexity will test the Celtics defense. They essentially can play three different styles of offense with Jimmy Butler attacking, running it through Bam Adebayo in the high post, and creative picks and handoff for 3-point shooters.

There are so many different ways they can hurt you, Stevens said. Miami can beat you in isolation. Theyre one of the best cutting teams Ive seen. Obviously great from behind the three-point line. Theyve got a number of guys that can go for 25 or 30 in a given game. Theyre super organized, so when they sense a weakness, theyre going to pick on it.

The Heat have had nearly a week to pour over the film and get ready for this series. However, they didnt know if theyd be facing Boston or Toronto until Friday night. Boston knew theyd have to prepare for Miami since September 8, and have had members of the staff working on the plan while the Raptors series was going on. Still, the players could really start working on tha plan until Sunday.

Miami is just a whole different team than Toronto, Kemba Walker said. They play very differently. We just have to adjust or be able to adjust pretty fast, switch things on and off pretty fast. As soon as that series was over against Toronto, we kind of had to shift our minds right to Miami. You just have to be locked in and willing to work really fast and on the fly.

Its hard to say who has the advantage in this series. Does Miami show rust after a fairly long layoff? Does Boston show fatigue after a 7 game slugfest? Whichever it is, the advantage wont last very long for either team. What they do know is in this battle of two of the best offenses in the league, its going to come down to which team can figure out how to get stops.

Those guys have so many different ways they can score the basketball. Walker said. Were going to have to be really locked into their shooters, really locked into Jimmy [Butler], obviously, Bam [Adebayo], whos just a different kind of big who can do pretty much everything. So yeah, like you said, were versatile, but so are they. Were just going to have to figure ways out to get stops consistently.

Miami feels the same way.

Theyre heavy on their starting five and those three guys, youve got Walker, Brown and Tatum, Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn said. So just containing those guys, limiting the things that they do, and just out-competing them. At this point a lot of Xs and Os matters, but it really comes down to who wants it. You go and roll the ball out and its competitive, so we want to win, and were going to go out and show it.

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Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat a series where each team must make tough choices: Youre not expecting it to b -

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