Yahoo Sports NBA writer Vince Goodwill is joined by The Athletic’s David Aldridge on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast to discuss Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, and debate if the Heat have a real chance to secure yet another trip to the NBA Finals.
VINCE GOODWILL: We got the Eastern Conference Finals. We got Boston and Miami once again tangling, Jimmy Butler, basically Jimmy and the Butler-ers. And then, you got Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. I feel like Philly was a better matchup for Miami, considering you got Bam. You got Jimmy. You knew what Harden was going to do. If they got out that series, I felt like Miami was going to take them down.
Now, I still feel like you have a coaching mismatch with Eric Spoelstra, who I think is one of the three best coaches in basketball. And the guy who replaced Ime Udoka, that's what we're going to call Joe Mazzulla, the guy who replaced Ime Udoka. Is this like the other Boston-Miami tilts that we've seen, especially last year, where if Jimmy Butler puts a little more leg into that shot at the end of the game 7, Miami goes to the Finals? Or do you see Boston being more vulnerable than previous years?
DAVID ALDRIDGE: I think Boston is vulnerable, just because I don't think their depth is nearly as good as it used to be as it's been in previous years, aside from Brogdon. Clearly, he's a terrific sixth man. But they don't have a ton after that. They're just kind of a seven, seven and a half-man team. And you wonder if they can hold up under Miami's pressure.
We all know how Miami plays. They never stop coming at you, ever, ever, ever stop coming at you. You can't take a possession off to rest. You have to be really tough mentally to handle Miami coming at you. And it does not matter who's playing for them. That's what they have figured out.
VINCE GOODWILL: You put on the jersey. And all of a sudden--
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Doesn't matter.
VINCE GOODWILL: You have the grit.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Gabe Vincent in game one, it's Max Strus in the play-in game. It's Jimmy Butler every game. It's Bam most games, Kyle Lowry.
VINCE GOODWILL: Yep.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: They just never stop coming at you. I mean, it's crazy how hard they play, and how much effort they give at both ends of the floor. And I wonder if Boston can-- coming off a tough series, now they won it, but it was a tough series. It was a tough, physical series. It was a difficult series for them. They had to expend a lot of capital to win that series.
And I wonder if they can have enough to fight again, against a team that maybe isn't as talented, but I think plays much harder, and plays with much more physicality, and energy, and focus, and determination, and has no quit in them. They will not quit. I think Miami's got a chance in this series. I really do. I think they have a really good chance in this series.
VINCE GOODWILL: I think they do, too. And I think starting game 1 in Boston, do not be surprised if Jimmy Butler puts up one of those Jimmy Butler type of games.