NBA explorer battles Bucks, Celtics as potential Heat opponent in East Finals (says Bucks would be a more appropriate match) – Sun Ranger

Miami – For the third time this post-season, the Miami Heat find themselves in a long waiting game.

At the start of the playoffs, it was a wait before the Atlanta Hawks were knocked out of the playing role as a first-round contender.

Before the second round, Eric Spoelstra’s team had to wait until the Philadelphia 76ers were knocked out of their series against the Toronto Raptors.

This time again there will be TV time to decide who’s next, with 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Game Seven at TD Garden deciding whether The Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals will face the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks.

So as their 8:30 p.m. opponents the Heat await the start of the East Finals Tuesday at the FTX Arena, the Sun Sentinel once again asked a veteran NBA scout to consider potential scenarios going forward.

Q: If I was a Heat team and could pick, would the bucks or the Celtics have a preference?

searchlight: “I’m quitting for Milwaukee, because Chris Middleton is dealing with a knee injury, and his availability is huge. I don’t think the rest of their squad really scares me. You have guys that can match Jrue Holiday. Yeah, nobody matches Giannis. [Antetokounmpo], but if any team can come up with blueprints, it’s Miami. If you can come up with blueprints for Joel Embiid, you can come up with blueprints for Giannis. And I just think other men, they just don’t have enough.”

Q: So if you see Milwaukee as the Heat’s favorite opponent, what makes Boston the hardest choice?

searchlight: “Because I just think their depth is better. I think Robert Williams is going to be rather important [as he deals with a knee issue]. But they did fine without it. This series should end now, because they have three more centers. Grant Williams is excellent. Daniel Theis is serviceable. Al Horford was out of his mind. Jason Tatum is a superstar right now, looks or close to it. And Jaylen Brown gives them two-for-one for Milwaukee. And Marcus Smart can guard whoever can guard Jimmy Butler, can guard Tyler Hero. They have great defensive prowess.”

Q: A star’s play often dictates the outcome of a playoff series. Did Jimmy Butler of the Heat raise his play to Giannis or even Tatum?

searchlight: “I think Jimmy has advanced, I agree. His focus, his desire, he’s got to another level. So I may not have said this before, but Giannis, Tatum, Jimmy, it’s kind of a wash. It’s a triple wash, like Jimmy did recently. So it’s hard. Deciding which guy will be the guy. Now, who’s going to be the best player, it’s a little hard to say until you see.”

Q: If this is a wash, then what?

searchlight: “It might be the second man. It might be [Boston’s] Jaylen Brown. It might be Tyler Hero. where [Herro] also? Is it still in the league? It’s better for him to reappear here, if they want to win a championship. And [Milwaukee’s] Junior Holiday, you’re asking him to be more Middleton, more goalscorer than he wants.”

Q: Let’s look at the scenarios: heat versus dollars, how could that happen?

searchlight: “Milwaukee will give you all three. Max Strauss, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, if Kyle Lowry plays Tyler Hero, they get their big share.”

Q: The Heat against the Celtics, how will that be done?

searchlight: “It will be a defensive chain. It will be all possession of Manu Manu. Because both teams are connected in this way. They have the ability in this way. It will be on the side with low goals. It will be trench warfare.”

Q: Well, the outlook, in your view: heat for dollars?

searchlight: “Heat. I’ll say six. I can’t see Milwaukee winning four games against them.”

Q: Heat vs Celtics?

searchlight: “Seven-game streak. I am going to Boston. They have been the best team since the start of the season. They have shown great resilience. That would be a hell of a streak.”

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