Miami Heat: 3 bold predictions for Game 6 vs. Celtics in 2022 Eastern Conference Finals
It’s do-or-die time for the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. They will hit the road to face the Bostin Celtics in Game 6. It could be their last game in the NBA playoffs.
With their backs against the wall, there is no more room for error. They let Game 5 become uncompetitive quickly and will have to prevent the Celtics from getting in rhythm. More than anything, Miami has to come out with energy and play their very best game.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have to own the next game. Kyle Lowry doesn’t need to revert to his previous star level but he has to have a real impact. The Heat’s role players will need to hit their shots and play with confidence. With the stakes higher than ever, Game 6 could be one of the wildest ones yet.
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Miami Heat Game 6 predictions
3. Erik Spoelstra makes a lineup change
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is more than comfortable with tweaking his lineup and rotations. His latest experiment could — and for the team’s sake, should — be a change to the starting lineup. Although injuries may force him to do it anyway, it’s likely that Spo will make an adjustment even if everyone who was healthy in Game 5 is still ready to go.
Removing Lowry from the starting lineup is the obvious move to make given how awful he was last game and has been throughout this year’s NBA playoffs. Putting Gabe Vincent back in his place would make sense, as he has been more reliable as a scorer and has contributed well on defense.
In Game 5, Spoelstra trimmed his rotation by not playing Dewayne Dedmon off the bench. P.J. Tucker got minutes as the backup center. Another rotation change feels imminent but a lineup change is certainly a possibility, if not a likelihood given the options he has. One such option could be the Heat’s saving grace.
2. Victor Oladipo has a very strong game
Jimmy Butler has long been seen as the Heat’s lifeblood throughout the series with his fantastic performance in the playoffs. He has certainly had many bright moments but his 4-18 shooting is a cry for help. With his right knee inflammation, it’s apparent that he needs help. Oladipo could be just that.
Victor Oladipo had 8 deflections in the 2ND HALF of Game 3. He also ended the game with 4 steals 🔒 pic.twitter.com/zpE46Yoewb
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) May 23, 2022
Oladipo’s defense has shined throughout this series. With his aggression and quick hands, he has made it tough for the Celtics to even try to get to their spots. When the Heat had the chance to close out their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks with Butler and Lowry sidelined, Oladipo scored 23 points and led Miami to the next round. He has been stepping up in key moments throughout the postseason.
The Heat have trusted Oladipo a lot in this year’s playoffs and have often been rewarded by it. Whether Oaldipo is called upon to start in place of Lowry or continues to come off the bench, he should have a strong impact in Game 6.
1. Tyler Herro’s status will decide Game 6
If Herro is able to come back from his groin injury, the Heat will force Game 7. If not, the Celtics will end their season.
Herro’s scoring has been crucial for Miami all season. He has missed both of their last games in this series and they have lost by a combined 33 points. Although he left the series with a poor performance in Game 3, Herro’s abilities make the Heat’s offense go. Without him, they lack serious scorers that the Celtics will have to focus on. The series could end with yet another blowout without him.
Conversely, if the Heat have him, they have another strong scorer they can lean on. They could continue to play strong defense while keeping the game slow and beating the Celtics with their half-court offense. His presence would be massive for Butler, who could bounce back with another player who can get buckets.
Miami is hurting and feeling the pressure from a long season and a hard-fought conference finals series. Making it through these adversities is what championship teams do. The Heat will get the chance to show that they are of that caliber.