Get ready for Jimmy Butler vs Jayson Tatum. The two best teams in the East during the regular season will battle in the Eastern Conference finals when the #1 Miami Heat square off against the #2 Boston Celtics. The winner will advance to the 2022 NBA Finals.

Boston Celtics Miami Heat series preview Eastern Conference Finals
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler (22) from the Miami Heat double team Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics. (Image: Getty)

Even though the Heat hold home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics are the betting favorite to win the series at -185 odds. The Heat are +190 odds to pick off the Celtics and return to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

#1 Miami Heat (53-29) vs #2 Boston Celtics (51-21)
2022 Eastern Conference Championship Series Odds
Boston Celtics -185 Miami Heat +190


Celtics/Heat Series Schedule (Best of 7)
  • Game 1: May 17 – Celtics at Heat
  • Game 2: May 19 – Celtics at Heat
  • Game 3: May 21 – Heat at Celtics
  • Game 4: May 23 – Heat at Celtics
  • Game 5: May 25 – Celtics at Heat
  • Game 6: May 27 – Heat at Celtics
  • Game 7: May 29 – Celtics at Heat

Heading into Game 1 in Miami, the Heat are -2 favorites even though starting point guard Kyle Lowry is out with a hamstring injury. Marcus Smart from the Celtics is questionable for Game 1 with a sprained foot.

The Celtics are +190 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, according to a most recent update at DraftKings. The Heat are +500 odds to win the title.

Celtics: Tatum time, Smart foot injury looms?

The Boston Celtics didn’t shy away from securing the #2 seed in the playoffs, even if it meant a first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Durant. Of course, the Celtics had nothing to be afraid about because they knocked the Nets out in four games, becoming the only team to achieve a 4-0 sweep in the entire postseason.

In the second round, the Celtics battled the Milwaukee Bucks. It took seven games to clinch the series, but the Celtics won back-to-back elimination games, including Game 6 in Milwaukee. The Celtics dethroned the defending champions during an impressive Game 7 victory.

Jayson Tatum dropped 46 points in Game 6 against the Bucks in an epic performance that everyone in New England is still gushing about. He averages 28.3 points, 6.1assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game in the postseason. Jaylen Brown averages 22.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game as the Celtics’ second-best scoring option.

“This is the group I feel like is poised enough to get it done,” said Brown. “Everything that we’ve overcome through this season, and overcoming the defending champions makes us prepared. We’re ready to take that next step. We’ve just got to go out and take it.”

Smart, the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a sprained right foot in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. He could miss Game 1 with what could be a lingering injury that slows him down in the Eastern Conference finals.

Big man Robert Williams, the Celtics’ rim protector, suffered a bone bruise in Game 3 against the Bucks and missed the last four games of the semifinals. He’s expected to play in Game 1 against the Heat.

Heat: Jimmy Buckets

The Miami Heat knocked out the #8 Atlanta Hawks in only five games in the first round. In the second round, the Heat needed six games to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers. Now, the Heat have a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference finals, but only four players from that Heat team are on this year’s squad.

The Celtics edged out the Heat 2-1 in their regular-season series.

“We have great respect for what they’ve done during the regular season, to develop the right habits,” said head coach Erik Spoelstra. “This is the way it should be — the two teams that played most consistently at the top of the East for most of the year, and we’re meeting in the conference finals to figure it out.”

Jimmy Butler averages 28.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in the postseason. He’s averaging nearly twice as much as the Heat’s second-best scorer, Bam Adebayo (14.6 ppg).

“We just want to focus in on today, right now, the group of guys that we get to go to war with every single day,” said Butler.

Tyler Herro, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, averages only 13.8 ppg in the playoffs, which is down nearly seven points from his regular-season scoring average. Herro struggled in this postseason, shooting only 27.3% from 3-point range. He didn’t make a trey in his last two playoff games and has just one in his last three. He’s shooting just 18.7% from downtown in his last four games and would love to snap out of his funk.

Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.