2020 NBA playoffs: 10 key questions ahead of Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference finals showdown - CBS Sports
Sep 15, 2020 2 mins, 26 secs

The Boston Celtics squeaked by the Toronto Raptors in seven games to make it to the Eastern Conference finals, while the Miami Heat needed only five to take out the Milwaukee Bucks.

The third-seeded Celtics are widely considered the favorites, but the Heat are anything but a typical No.

Maybe the second round prepared the Celtics for what's coming.

They were in problem-solving mode the entire time, and their coaching staff will make sure they won't be surprised if the Heat start Game 1 in a 2-3 zone.

Gordon Hayward went through a small group workout after practice on Monday and "looked good when he was going through it," coach Brad Stevens said, "but there's a big difference between doing that and actually getting into a game." He won't play in the opener, but if he is available after that and can approximate his play in the regular season, he can change the feel of the Celtics' offense. .

I'm most interested in who's on Goran Dragic and who's on Bam Adebayo at the beginning of Game 1.

First Team All-Defense guard Marcus Smart is the obvious choice to slow down Dragic, who was one of the league's best reserves in the regular season and has been a phenomenal starter in the playoffs, an enormous driver of Miami's success on offense.

Tatum is an intriguing alternative, though, and might be able to disrupt Dragic's rhythm with his length -- he and Brown both spent a lot of time guarding Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet in the second round (and will presumably both draw Jimmy Butler duty).

Daniel Theis seems like the default matchup for Adebayo, but I'll bet Boston gets creative at some point in the series.

If Stevens experiments with Brown or even Smart on him, you can expect Adebayo to try to bully his way to the rim and get to the free throw line.

The Heat get an amazing amount of mileage out of Adebayo doing stuff that opposing teams don't see too often.

The Celtics' offensive approach might be completely different than it was in the second round.

In the playoffs, the Heat have had the best of both worlds: 41.9 percent of their shots have been 3s and they have made 38.5 percent of them.

Butler got to the line nine times a game in the regular season, and that number has climbed to 10.7 in the playoffs

Dragic and Adebayo can wreak havoc this way, too, and the Heat led the league in free throw rate in the regular season (and are second in the playoffs)

This is something to watch, especially because the Celtics were 24th in free throw rate defensively and are physical both on the perimeter and in the paint

It makes sense to put Adebayo on Theis because he can switch Walker's ball screens and otherwise roam around as a help defender, but if Tatum gets going, Spoelstra could throw Adebayo on him. 

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