The Miami Heat have been eliminated by rival Boston Celtics from the NBA playoffs in five games, ending a season full of turmoil for the NBA’s defending Eastern Conference Champions. 

The Celtics have evened things up at a 2-2. In 2020 and 2023, The Heat won in the playoffs, with the Celtics winning in 2022 and now in 2024. Celtics vs Heat has been the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup for the last two seasons. This season represents the first time The Heat have been eliminated in the first round since 2021. 

This series appears to have been hampered by Jimmy Butler’s absence due to a knee injury suffered when the Heat faced off with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament. They also did not have a 20+ point per game scorer in Terry Rozier, who has been dealing with neck trouble.

All-star center Bam Adebayo couldn’t steer the Miami Heat to what would have been a monumental upset. Despite the outcome, Adebayo’s performance was stellar throughout the series, averaging 22.6 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists per game over five games. His highlight was a 21-point, 10-rebound effort in Game 2, marking the Heat’s only victory in the series.

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The series concluded with the Heat suffering a crushing 34-point defeat, losing Game 5 in Boston with a score of 118-84. Jaylen Brown and Derrick White each contributed 25 points in that decisive game, while Adebayo stood out for the Heat by scoring 23 points—the only Miami player to break the 20-point barrier that game. 

The Celtics are advancing and will take on the winner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic series. Regardless of their opponent, the Celtics are favored to progress to the Eastern Conference finals, where they’ll face either the New York Knicks or the Indiana Pacers, both of whom have secured their spots in the next round.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke out on the loss, saying “You could sense they wanted this to end right now, tonight.” He also said, “They probably had something to motivate them against us,” referencing the events of the incredibly competitive seven-game series between the Heat and the Celtics last year in the Eastern Conference Finals. In it, the Heat won game 7, preventing themselves from being the first team to ever lose a 3-0 lead in NBA history.

The Heat are going into the offseason with many more questions than answers. They lost out on Damian Lillard last summer, despite being the heavy favorite to acquire him in a trade with the Trail Blazers, after refusing to trade Tyler Herro in the deal. 

Herro is expected to be involved in trade talks throughout the summer, as he is an important asset for the team, and they will most likely look to improve the roster as Jimmy Butler will begin his season at the age of 35 this fall. 

Miami will select 15th overall in the 2024 NBA Draft on June 26th, and there is a possibility that The Heat can trade assets such as the draft picks, Herro, and Jamie Jacquez Jr for any potential stars looking to hit the trade market. The Heat have been known to have interest in Donovan Mitchell, who could potentially be on the move considering uncertainty in Cleveland, with Mitchell only one year out of needing a contract extension.