The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat haven't squared off in the NBA playoffs since Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Will that drought end in 2020?
The C's and Heat have been two of the top contenders in the East throughout the 2019-20 season, which is scheduled to start up again next month in Florida. The Celtics will resume the campaign as the No. 3 seed, while the Heat return as the No. 4 seed -- 2.5 games behind Boston.
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The Celtics and Heat could play in Round 1 in the No. 3 vs. No. 6 series if Miami struggles in the eight seeding games and drops a few spots in the East standings. If the Celtics remain as the No. 3 seed and the Heat earn the No. 4 or 5 seed, these teams wouldn't be able to play against each other until the conference finals.
If the C's and Heat do meet in the playoffs, what would that series look like? Shandel Richardson of InsideTheHeat.com joined the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast to talk about that subject and much more.
"I'm not in the business of picking winners, but I think that would be a great series," Richardson said. "I'd love to see Kelly Olynyk go back up to Boston and go against his former team. And Jimmy Butler in that situation -- I think he would totally thrive playing against the Celtics. He gets up for games like that, especially against a storied franchise like the Boston Celtics. I think it would be a very physical series. I'd love to see the Heat rookies like Kendrick Nunn go against those guys and prove themselves."
One of the best storylines in a potential Celtics-Heat playoff matchup would be the return of Kelly Olynyk. The veteran forward was selected by the C's with the No. 13 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and enjoyed a good-but-not-great career in Boston. His moment of greatness came in the 2017 playoffs when he scored 26 points in a second-round Game 7 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Olynyk left Boston as a free agent in the summer of 2017 and signed a four-year contract with the Heat. He's played pretty well against the Celtics since joining the Heat, averaging 12.6 points and shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range in seven games. Olynyk scored 32 points in a Heat victory over the Celtics in Dec. 2017, and you can bet he'd relish the opportunity to take on his former team in the postseason.
"I'm sure he wants that series," Richardson said. "He loves playing against his former team. Every chance he gets to talk about Boston with us, he brings up how much fun he had in Boston."