Image: (Jaylen Brown) Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
After looking at the key players of the Western Conference finals, it is time to examine the East. The Eastern Conference finals are officially set, as the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 in Game 7. Jayson Tatum had a spectacular 51-point performance that helped seal the win.
The Boston Celtics will take on the Miami Heat in this round, with the winner heading to the NBA Finals. And with these two competitive teams locking up, fans are in for a great series.
Jimmy Butler is a man on a mission this playoffs, and with a championship possibly within reach, he will do what it takes to get to the Finals. Tatum and the Celtics came close to winning a championship last year, and this year their chances are even better. But what players will help Butler or Tatum carry the load? Here are three players that could impact this series.
1.) Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown is the Celtics’ second option (in some cases first) and he does a nice job in that role. While Tatum had his 51-point game, Brown was the second leading scorer with 25 points. Brown averages 24.6 points and 5.3 rebounds this postseason. He is also shooting an impressive 47 percent from 3-point range. Brown has been consistent throughout the playoffs, and during the regular season, he played well against Miami. Brown averaged 30.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists against the Heat during the season, and shot 40 percent from deep.
Brown is a skilled player, and in the event Tatum struggles or is carrying most of the load, Brown can step in and give the Celtics more offense. Brown is one of the NBA’s top young players and this series could be a chance to prove that.
2.) Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon has made an impact on the Celtics. He joined the Celtics after a trade with the Pacers during the offseason, and gave Boston another option on offense. While Brogdon only played 36 games in 2021-22, he averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds. This year, he averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. Brogdon started in all 36 games for the Pacers last season, but when he joined the Celtics, he moved to a sixth man role. And, it paid off, as he was named this year’s Sixth Man of the Year.
When it comes to elite teams, having one or more reliable players coming off the bench is important. Brogdon will be a factor for Boston, and could be what they need to get them their championship.
3.) Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo is a skilled player that continues to play at a high level. Adebayo averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in the regular season. This postseason, he averages 18.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Adebayo managed to have a solid series against the Knicks and he did well against Milwaukee. While Jimmy Butler is taking charge and leading the eighth-seeded Heat, Adebayo is chipping in. If Miami wants to get to the next round, Adebayo will be key.
The NBA Conference Finals are underway, and with four talented teams remaining, each team has a great chance at getting to the Finals.