How Heat Plan To Match ‘Proverbial North Star’ Celtics In 2024-25

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The Boston Celtics got the best of the Miami Heat this past season, putting away their longtime Eastern Conference foe in a five-game playoff battle before seizing Banner 18.

Aside from a hiccup performance in Game 2 of their first-round battle, which Heat star Jimmy Butler was sidelined for the entirety of, the Celtics dominated — from start to finish. However, that doesn’t mean Miami intends to back down from Boston, even though the talent gap (still) remains a significant factor entering the 2024-25 season.

“You saw a lot of players go down throughout the run that Boston had,” Kevin Love told reporters during Miami’s offseason availability Sunday. “But that’s not to take anything away from them because they have set the standard in the NBA. They are that good. They are the proverbial North Star if you will, and in order to get better, we all need to get better. So I don’t know what that means from a decision-making standpoint in the front office obviously, but I think health played a major component.”

In four of the last five seasons, Miami’s gone head-to-head with Boston in the postseason. They’ve split those meetings evenly, 2-2, yet each time the storyline has been the same: an underdog Heat team riding a Cinderella run, crossing paths with a Celtics team in search of living up to its hype. Butler’s absence undoubtedly played a factor, but Boston, too, has endured its fair share of postseason injuries in recent years.

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During the 2023 conference finals, Jayson Tatum suffered an ankle injury in the do-or-die Game 7 contest. In 2022, Robert Williams III dealt with a meniscus injury, and in 2021 Jaylen Brown (wrist) and Kemba Walker (knee) were both limited.

But this go-around, Miami just wasn’t well-equipped to compete with the 64-win Celtics who went 3-0 in the regular season against the Heat.

“Overall, (we) just need to get better,” Love continued. “We need to be a more cohesive unit. We need to focus on the regular season and getting the best out of each other during that time, and I think that’s something that mindset starts now.”

Miami still has plenty of offseason left to re-tool, but so far, it hasn’t looked promising.

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