It will be one and done when it comes to Miami Heat full-scale preparations for the Eastern Conference finals.
With the Boston Celtics defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 108-95 Friday night at Fiserv Forum, it will come down to a winner-take-all 3:30 p.m. Sunday Game 7 at TD Garden to decide that best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Awaiting that winner will be an 8:30 p.m. Tuesday game against the Heat at FTX Arena.
In the previous round, the Heat had two days to work with the knowledge of the Philadelphia 76ers being their opponent, winning that series 4-2.
But while the Tuesday start gives the Heat four days off before returning in the wake of their series-clinching victory Thursday night in Philadelphia, there now only will be Monday’s practice to work with the knowledge of their next opponent.
The Heat, who finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, went 1-2 during the regular season against the No. 2 Celtics, winning the final meeting.
Against the No. 3 Bucks, the Heat went 2-2, losing the final meeting of that season series.
The Heat have faced the Bucks in each of the previous two postseasons, eliminating the Bucks 4-1 in the second round in 2020, when the postseason was contested in the Disney World quarantine bubble. The Bucks then swept the Heat 4-0 in last season’s opening round.
The Heat last faced the Celtics in the playoffs in the 2020 Eastern Conference finals, winning that series 2-2. The last time the Heat played the Celtics in the postseason outside of a bubble setting was when they won the 2012 Eastern Conference finals 4-3.
Asked Friday on ESPN whether the Heat would relish the opportunity to avenge last year’s playoff sweep at the hands of the Bucks, Heat center Bam Adebayo said, “Yeah, of course. But you know it doesn’t matter which one. We’ll prepare, get ready. Everybody’s playing at a high, high level right now.”
If Boston is the opponent, Adebayo downplayed any animus over being beaten out for the Defensive Player of the Year award by Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
“Nah,” he said, “that’s just awards.”
Eastern Conference finals
Game 1: Tuesday, FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2: Thursday, FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: May 21, at Boston or Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4: May 23, at Boston or Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 5*: May 25: FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 6*: May 27, at Boston or Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 7*: May 29: FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
* – If necessary.
(No local television in conference finals.)
Source: Berkshire mont