An Eastern Conference rivalry has just been rekindled. Following their Play-In win on Friday, the Miami Heat will be taking on the Boston Celtics in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Both teams performed quite differently throughout this season. The Celtics have been a purely dominant force while the Heat have had a steady showing, quietly inserting themselves at the bottom of the postseason bracket once again. This is exactly why the betting odds heavily favor Boston. As per Action Network, the Celtics are -8000 to win their series against the Heat.

Boston and Miami have clashed in the Eastern Conference Finals three times as of late. It all started during the pandemic-shortened season when the Celtics fell in six games during the bubble. Fast forward to 2022 β€” both teams met again, with the Green and White carving their way to an NBA finals berth in seven games.

Last season, the Celtics entered the playoffs as the second seed while the Heat clinched the last playoff spot courtesy of a Play-In victory. After overcoming several other heavyweights, both squads found themselves as the remaining Eastern Conference teams once more. Miami initially ran away with a 3-0 lead, but the Celtics fought back to tie the series. However, Boston would fall in Game 7, giving their opponents the win that time around.

This year, each team has a chance to send the other home once again. Meeting in the first round is quite earlier than what they're accustomed to. Nevertheless, it'll be another highly-anticipated series. And for the Celtics community, it's a chance to avenge a heartbreak that led to major changes within the team.

A new-look Celtics squad

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) celebrate during overtime of their 127-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of Boston's elimination last season, management decided to trade away multiple key players such as Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon. All the transactions eventually resulted in the additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Looking at what the Celtics have done, it all seems to be paying off.

Right from the get-go, the team immediately made noise. Piling up the wins, Boston's starting five of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Porzingis and Holiday showed the entire league what happens when a lineup full of talent finds a way to work well together.

The Celtics finished the season with a league-best 64-18 record, highlighted by an 11-game winning streak in February. Led by Tatum's 26.9 points per game, all five starters tallied double-digit scoring averages during the regular season.

Nothing less is expected than Banner 18 this year. The talent is there. The teamwork and chemistry are there. The coaching staff have figured out the right formula. It all comes down to finishing the campaign on a high note.