Marcus Smart, Al Horford miss game 1 of Eastern Conference finals

The Boston Celtics will be underdogs as they begin their Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, both Marcus Smart and Al Horford were eliminated in the first half.

Smart, 28, was previously on the suspect list for a sprained leg during the Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Last month, Smart became the first guard in over two decades to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year honour.

Horford, 35, was announced Tuesday after meeting the NBA’s health and safety protocols, presumably meaning he tested positive for COVID-19. Horford averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in the regular season, but burst for 30 points in game 4 won against the Bucks.

Although Boston will be without two of its top defenders in Game 1 against the Heat, the team hopes to get “key minutes” off center Robert Williams, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Williams missed the first two games of the first series against the Brooklyn Nets and the final four against the Bucks due to a knee injury.

Celtics for the fewest points in the NBA during the regular season, while the Heat finished in fourth place.

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