The Boston Celtics just eliminated the defending champion Toronto Raptors in a grueling seven-game series. They're matching up with a lower seed in the Eastern Conference Finals after the No. 5 Miami Heat upset the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
But if you think the Heat will be easier for the Celtics to handle than Toronto, you may be mistaken.
In a new Celtics Talk Podcast following Boston's Game 7 win over the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals, NBC Sports Boston's Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg looked ahead to what should be another fiercely competitive series with Miami.
"I think some people are underestimating the Miami Heat and how good they're playing right now," Draper said. "Sure, they may not be the best team, but they're firing on all cylinders right now.
"They're just as gritty and hard-nosed and never-give-up as Toronto. And yet they've got better shooters and I think a better system."
Jimmy Butler is the All-Star headliner, but the Heat are a very deep, balanced team boasting elite shooters in Duncan Robinson and rookie Tyler Herro, talented guards in Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn and scrappy role players in former Celtics Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk.
Then there's first-time All-Star big man Bam Adebayo, whom Blakely believes could be a handful for C's big man Daniel Theis.
"Bam is like a better, younger version of (Raptors forward) Serge (Ibaka)," Blakely said. "He doesn't have the range Serge has, but his ability to control the action around the paint, his ability to be a difference-maker at his position is going to cause some problems for the Celtics."
Forsberg added Adebayo's incredible athleticism is a perfect compliment to Miami's strong outside shooting.
"There's a nine-minute highlight video on YouTube of nothing but Bam Adebayo dunks from this season," Forsberg said. "I think it was 145 of them or something.
"The shooting puts so much pressure on your perimeter players to stay close that it opens up a lot more space for Adebayo to rim run and create space and dribble."
For that reason, Forsberg believes the Heat could force the Celtics into some tough matchups when Game 1 begins Tuesday.
"I can't wait to see the matchups," Forsberg said. "How do you line it up? How much can you use Theis on Adebayo? Do you want to put Jaylen (Brown) on him and have that (Pascal) Siakam-type matchup where Jaylen can use his size and physicality to match up with a bigger player? I think it's going to be a fascinating series."
The crew also discussed Jayson Tatum vaulting into the conversation of the top 10 NBA players, whether Marcus Smart was the MVP of this series and the pressure on Kemba Walker to step up for Miami.