Can the Celtics lose to the Heat? We got votes! Plus, your Playoff Panic Meter is beeping!

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So many Thunder players can’t even rent cars yet.


HEAT CULTUR3

Miami can’t possibly do this again … right?

The Heat did the thing. Yes, that thing you never expect them to do, but they keep doing it despite very few people outside of South Florida believing they’ll do said thing. With Jimmy Butler (MCL sprain) unavailable to play, Miami set a team playoff record and rained 3 after 3 on the Celtics in its 111-101 victory over Boston — in Boston, no less, — to even the first-round series at 1-1 .

Tyler Herro was brilliant. Bam Adebayo was great on both ends. And Miami went full-on “15-seed in the NCAA Tournament seeking the upset” by chucking 43 of its 75 shots from deep. And the Heat were CHUCKING, man. Instead of a recap, I reached out to four basketball people to ask what we’re all wondering: Can Miami can pull off a 1-8 upset against Boston? I also asked, on a scale of 1-10, the chances the latter wins.

Shea Serrano |  Six Trophies Podcast Co-host | Creator of Primo | Mail is forwarded to New York Times Bestsellers List

No, I don’t think the Heat can replicate what they did in Game 2 enough times to win the series. That said, I also said the same thing last year when they played, so, I mean, you know. | Boston wins series: 10/10.

Mo Dakhil | Former Spurs/Clippers video coordinator | Nerder Co-host | Writer, The Athletic | Twitch Streamer

As impressive as the Heat’s Game 2 performance was, I’m not worried about Boston – yet. Kristaps Porziņģis had about as bad of a game as he will have in the playoffs. Miami will not stay this hot from three. Game 2 was an anomaly more than the norm. (I will deny I ever wrote this if I’m wrong.) | Boston wins series: 9/10.

Jay King | Still Poddable Co-host| Celtics reporterThe Athletic

Could the Heat do this again? Sure, as long as Erik Spoelstra remains the king of magical playoff potions. Seriously, though, the Heat won’t quit. They need some of that Game 2 variance to swing to their side, if they want to pull off the upset. And, if the Celtics thought it would be easy, they must have forgotten their battles with Spoelstra over the years. | Boston wins series: 9/10.

Amin Elhassan | Co-host of Oddball | Former Suns executive 

I see NBA playoff series success chances like the draft lottery. There may be 1,000 situations that result in either team winning. Heavy favorites may own 800, 900 of the combos. The difference between the lotto and this is that, in this, teams can influence the combos, so Miami has agency in making the circumstances happen where its combos come up. | Boston wins: 9/10.

You know what? This is very pro-Boston taking care of business. Let’s see what Jimmy Butler thinks:

We’ll check with these folks again if Miami takes Game 3.


PPM Returns!

Through every Game 2, who feels the pressure?

With each Game 2 now played, let’s do a vibe check with our trusty Playoff Panic Meter (PPM), which measures panic on a scale of 1-5.

Celtics tied 1-1 against the Heat, headed to Miami

Miami won’t be swept, but can Boston feel pressure without Butler?

PPM: 🚨for Boston | 🚨for Miami

Knicks up 2-0 on the 76ers, preparing for Philly

This has been a highly contested series on the court and on social mediawith both fan bases throwing haymakers. Can Jalen Brunson get going?

PPM: 👖for New York | 😡😡😡 for Philadelphia

Bucks tied 1-1 against the Pacers as series turns to Indy

If Milwaukee gets Giannis Antetokounmpo back, its worries go away, but Indiana scares Doc Rivers’ squad. We wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

PPM: 🦌🦌🦌 for Milwaukee | ⌚⌚ for Indiana

Cavs up 2-0 on the Magic before visiting Orlando

Cleveland’s defense has been smothering the Magic, who simply can’t put pressure on the Cavaliers without scoring much more.

PPM: ⚔️ for Cleveland | 🪄🪄🪄 for Orlando

Thunder up 2-0 on the Pelicans headed to NOLA

Without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans haven’t scored enough to really scare OKC’s youth. Do they have a chance to bounce back?

PPM: 📿 for OKC | ⛈️⛈️⛈️ for New Orleans

Nuggets up 2-0 on the Lakers, hits road to LA

It feels like the Lakers missed their opportunity to even make Denver think this could be a highly contested series for the champs.

PPM: 🥱 for Denver | ⛏️⛏️⛏️⛏️ for LA

Wolves up 2-0 on the Suns ahead of Phoenix trip

Games 1-2 can’t give Phoenix hope. Jaden McDaniels has been red hot.

PPM: 🐺 for Minnesota | 🌇🌇🌇 for Phoenix

Clippers tied 1-1 against the Mavs, to visit Dallas next

It wasn’t pretty, but Dallas stole a game to pressure the shaky Clippers.

PPM: 🤕🤕 for LA | 🐴🐴 for Dallas


Close Call?

Naz Reid wins Sixth Man of the Year

When watching Naz Reid cooking as a Timberwolves reserve, it’s hard to believe he was undrafted (signed in July 2019). Now, the 24-year-old Reid is the third undrafted player in NBA history to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, joining Darrell Armstrong (1999) and John Starks (1997). The Wolves’ first winner of the award doesn’t come without a little controversy, though. The NBA announced it’s the closest voting total we’ve seen between first- and second-place under this format.

Kings guard Malik Monk missed out on the award by 10 total points, finishing two first-place votes away from tying Reid’s voting points total. The Clippers’ Norman Powell recently complained about not being a top-three finalist, but it’s fair to wonder if Monk could have a gripe for not winning it over Reid. Monk came off the bench for all 72 games he played in. Reid was a starter in 14 of his 81 appearances.

The key qualifier is being a reserve more often than you are starter. Plenty of players have started some games and still won the award, to be fair. But Reid’s averages in those starts boosted his overall numbers. Jon Krawczynski thought this could boost his case — maybe it did. But let’s marvel at two players surnamed Bogdanović getting votes.


Screen Game (All times Eastern)

  • Big Stakes: Knicks-Sixers (7:30 p.m. TNT). Grievances were filed. The last two minutes were reported. Philly must win this at home.
  • Fewer Stakes: Nuggets-Lakers (10 p.m. TNT). Can the L.A. break its 10-game losing streak to Denver?
  • NBA TV Game: Cavs-Magic (7 p.m.). We’ll see if the Magic Kingdom can help Orlando get buckets. Full schedule here.

(Top photo: Winslow Townson / Getty Images )

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