When the Celtics and Heat last met in the playoffs eight years ago, LeBron James handed in an all-time performance to fend off the last real title-challenging Celtics team of the Kevin Garnett era. In retrospect, the series stands as a fork in NBA history, the launching point for James as a clutch performer and the end for the Celtics as a championship contender.

This year’s Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Finals might not carry that type of historical significance, but should be an interesting clash between two rising organizations. To preview the series, we have assembled a two-part roundtable of our Celtics and Heat writers: Manny Navarro (Heat), Dave DuFour (Heat), Jared Weiss (Celtics) and Jay King (Celtics).

Coming Tuesday: Part 2 of this roundtable.

How will Gordon Hayward’s presence – or absence – impact the Celtics?

King: The Heat, unlike the Raptors, actually have some defenders for Boston to target. Especially if…





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