Heat Best Bulls, Continuing NBA's Most Common Playoff Series Since 2010

Jan 25, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket past Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro.
Jan 25, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket past Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat punched their ticket to the playoffs on Friday. They knocked off the Chicago Bulls convincingly, earning a 112-91 victory.

There was only one lead change and two ties, and Miami staged a 19-0 run in the third quarter to break the game open.

Tyler Herro nearly registered a triple-double in the win. He finished with 24 points and nine assists, both game-highs and a team-best ten rebounds.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. chipped in 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kevin Love contributed 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

The Heat now advance to a first-round series against the Boston Celtics that will start on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 EST at TD Garden.

It will be the seventh time the two have faced each other in the playoffs since 2010; it is the most common playoff matchup in that span. It's also the fourth time they'll square off in the last five years.

Miami and Boston have clashed in the Eastern Conference Finals three times in the last four years, with the former advancing twice. That includes last season when the latter fell into a 3-0 hole before Jayson Tatum injured his ankle on the first play of Game 7, deflating their hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to erase that deficit in a best-of-seven.

One of the driving factors in the Celtics shaking up their roster's core and acquiring Kristaps Porzingis was with this series in mind. He helped his new team sweep its three regular-season meetings vs. the Heat, averaging 20.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. He also shot 57.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. 

Miami enters this matchup without Jimmy Butler. The six-time All-Star suffered an MCL injury in Wednesday's 105-104 play-in tournament loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. It occurred after an awkward landing following a layup attempt, with Kelly Oubre falling on the afflicted area. 

The expectation is Butler will be out for multiple weeks, per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. If there is a Game 5, it will take place exactly two weeks from when his injury occurred.

Further Reading

Brad Stevens Addresses Potential Extension with Derrick White

Brad Stevens Notes Crucial Element of Celtics' Title Pursuit: 'Bigger Than Themselves'

After Career Night, Reflective Payton Pritchard Discusses NBA Journey and His Ultimate Pursuit

'Nip That in the Bud': Celtics Address End-of-Season Struggles

Jrue Holiday on Celtics Extension: 'Try to Get More Banners, Get More Rings'

Jaylen Brown Shares What Latest Milestone Means to Him

Celtics Embracing Challenge to Go Beyond Most Talented

Jayson Tatum Opens Up About Sacrificing in Celtics' Title Pursuit: 'It's a Process'


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Bobby Krivitsky

BOBBY KRIVITSKY

Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.