After putting the entire city of Boston through an emotional blender over the last ten days, the real Jayson Tatum showed up at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon.
The Celtics star scored 51 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and tallied 5 assists in the team’s 112-88 game seven victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
After falling down 3-2 in the series, they rallied back to win two straight to advance in the NBA playoffs. They’ll now face the Miami Heat, and are now the overwhelming favorites to advance to the NBA Finals according to FanDuel Sportsbook:
Eastern Conference Finals Series Price
Boston Celtics -550
Miami Heat +390
Not only are they the favorites to get there, but they also have the best odds to be raising the Larry O’Brien Trophy come mid-June. Here are the odds for the remaining four teams:
Odds to Win 2023 NBA Finals
Boston Celtics EVEN
Denver Nuggets +230
Los Angeles Lakers +330
Miami Heat +1400
This marks the third time in four seasons that the Celtics will face the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami got the best of Boston in the 2020 bubble season, and Boston won in seven last season.
The Heat finished the regular season with a 44-38 record, made the Play-In Tournament as the conference’s 8th seed, and actually lost their first game before rattling off two more and making the final eight. After upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, they took care of business against the Knicks in six games on their way to their seventh conference finals under Eric Spoelstra.
Despite a lackluster way of getting here, the Heat are dangerous and Boston will certainly have their work cut out for them – at least against Jimmy Butler. Miami’s star is averaging 31.1 PPG this postseason and has carried the likes of Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry on his back.
The Celtics, however, are by far the better team in this series. Tatum showed on Sunday that he’s the best player in the conference, Jaylen Brown is the best number two in the entire NBA, and Boston’s resiliency in their series against the 76ers will only propel them to new heights against Miami.
The Eastern Conference Finals begins on Wednesday with an 8:30pm tipoff from TD Garden.
Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick, and follow @CelticsCLNS for the latest up-to-date Celtics news!
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