NBA Bubble Eastern Conference finals featured the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in 2020. They are back for the matchup on 17 May 2023.

The Finals for 2023 will bring back some familiar faces, as two matchups will be rematches of the Covid-affected 2020 tournament.

In the Eastern Conference, the Heat and Celtics will go head-to-head again after facing each other in the same round three years ago. The Heat have had a relatively smooth path to the Conference Finals, beating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games, just as they did in 2020.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of their 2020 Conference Finals showdown. 

In that year's NBA Finals, the Lakers faced the Miami Heat, who they had never met before in the previous 15 NBA Finals series. Critics of the 2020 NBA Bubble, who had previously dismissed it as a fluke, are now being proven wrong, as the same teams that competed in the Finals are now back in contention.

NBA Bubble Conference Finals In 2020

The 2020 NBA Bubble was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Bubble was created to shield players from COVID-19 during the final eight matches of the 2019-20 season. 

They continued to use the bubble throughout the 2020 NBA playoffs for the same purpose. To safeguard its 2019-20 season, which was first halted by the pandemic on March 11, 2020, the NBA made a $190 million investment in the bubble.

Likewise, the NBA Bubble Eastern Conference Finals 2020 were contested between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The series went to six games, with the Miami Heat winning four games to two.

Here are the scores for each game:

Game 1: Miami Heat 117, Boston Celtics 114 (OT)
Game 2: Miami Heat 106, Boston Celtics 101
Game 3: Boston Celtics 117, Miami Heat 106
Game 4: Miami Heat 112, Boston Celtics 109
Game 5: Boston Celtics 121, Miami Heat 108
Game 6: Miami Heat 125, Boston Celtics 113

Whereas the NBA Bubble Western Conference Finals 2020 was between LA Lakers and Denver Nuggets, the series went to five games, with the Los Angeles Lakers winning four to one.

(Left) LeBron James holding 2020 NBA Championship on October 12, 2020
Source : facebook

Here are the scores for each game:

Game 1: Los Angeles Lakers 126, Denver Nuggets 114
Game 2: Los Angeles Lakers 105, Denver Nuggets 103
Game 3: Denver Nuggets 114, Los Angeles Lakers 106
Game 4: Los Angeles Lakers 114, Denver Nuggets 108
Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers 117, Denver Nuggets 107

The Miami Heat won the series and advanced to the NBA Finals, where Heat faced the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, the Lakers ultimately won the NBA championship in six games with LeBron James being named the Finals MVP.

Boston Celtics Vs Miami Heat Rematch in 2023

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are slated to compete in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2023 NBA playoffs. The match is set to start on May 17, 2023. 

The Heat have already secured their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 4-3. In Game 7 of the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics claimed a decisive 112-88 victory, knocking the Philadelphia 76ers out of title contention.

The complete schedule for the Celtics vs. Heat series has been announced, with the first game scheduled for May 17, 2023, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Heat and Celtics are set to face in Eastern Conference Finals of the 2023 NBA playoffs
Source : espn

Besides, this scenario may remind fans of the 2020 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals, where Boston and Miami faced each other, and Miami emerged as the victor.

This year's conference finals will mark the fifth time the two teams have faced each other in the playoffs, with the Heat winning two of the first three matchups.

Fans are eagerly awaiting to see if the Heat can replicate their previous success and advance to the NBA Finals once again or if the Celtics will be the ones to make it to the Finals this time.

On the other hand, the Celtics finished the regular season with a 57-25 record, while the Miami Heat finished their regular season with a score of 44-38.

La Lakers vs Denver Nuggets As History Repeats

The Western Conference Finals of the 2023 NBA playoffs will feature a matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. It is scheduled to be on May 16.

The Lakers secured their spot in the conference finals and will face off against the same opponents they faced the last time in 2020.

The 2022-2023 season has been challenging for the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. The Lakers struggled at the start of the season with a 2-10 record, and their chances of making the playoffs seemed dim for most of the regular season.

LeBron James during the Game six series against Warriors on May 13, 2023
Source : instagram

However, they turned things around and made a late surge in the standings after a valuable trade deadline, earning the No. 7 seed and a spot in the play-in tournament.

After an exciting overtime victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament, the Lakers advanced to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. They emerged victorious in six games, setting up a clash with the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the rest of the Lakers' supporting cast put on a dominant display to eliminate the Warriors and secure a spot in the Western Conference Finals.

Nuggets Past Matchups with Mighty Lakers

The Lakers won the conference finals against the Nuggets 4-1 in the 2020 Orlando bubble. This season, the teams split their four matchups 2-2.

In the Western Conference Finals lead-up, the Nuggets and Lakers split their four matchups in the 2022-23 regular season. The Lakers won the first two games, with scores of 121-110 and 126-108, while the Nuggets won the next two matches, with scores of 122-109 and 118-114.

The Nuggets have built their offensive strategy around two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who finally had a healthy group around him for the postseason.

The Denver Nuggets advance to the Western Conference finals in May 2023
Source : twitter

Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. have also stepped up in a big way during these playoffs, while Aaron Gordon has become a lockdown defender. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown continue to provide excellent minutes for Denver.

With top-end talent and depth, the Nuggets have the makings of a championship contender. However, the question remains whether they can get past a team that has historically had the upper hand in playoffs.

Furthermore, the Denver Nuggets finished the 2022-23 regular season with a record of 53-29, the best in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers finished the regular season with a 43-39.