At first glance, the storyline in the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics is similar to the one in the Western Conference, where the San Antonio Spurs are battling the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Like the wizened Spurs trying to fend off the upstart Thunder, the Celtics — whose 2008 NBA championship remains the most recent one earned by an Eastern Conference team — and their aging core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen is trying to fend off the young and hip Heat, who are led by the trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh(currently sidelined due to a lower abdominal muscle strain).
That’s where the similarities end, though. While most sports fans have a tough time coming up with a team to root for in the Spurs-Thunder series because both teams have such sterling reputations, the Celtics are the unquestioned choice of the public to knock off the Heat, which has been the team just about everyone loves to loathe since James’ “Decision” to join Wade and Bosh in what was very likely the culmination of a multi-year plan by the trio to create an NBA superpower.
Unfortunately for those Celtics fans, their preferred choice fell behind in the best-of-seven series with a 93-79 loss in Game One in Miami Monday, May 28. But the battle of basketball good vs. evil contested between two teams located in cities passionate about their hoops should be good news for ticket brokers.
The Celtics played in front of a sellout home crowd at TD Garden for the 250th straight time when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 85-75, in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, May 26. The Heat, meanwhile, finished second in the NBA in attendance this season and drew beyond-capacity crowds to the American Airlines Center: The arena’s capacity is 19,600 but the Heat averaged 22,920 fans in 33 home dates.
A search of StubHub.com this afternoon, May 29, revealed 2,953 tickets available beginning at $65, for Game Two of the series in Miami Wednesday, May 30. Games Three and Four are scheduled to be played in Boston Friday, June 1 and Sunday, June 3. There are 3,539 tickets to Game Three, beginning at $115, and 3,956 tickets to Game Four, beginning at $113.
As is usually the case with playoff series, the price tag rises for potential elimination games. StubHub currently has 1,801 tickets available for Game Five, which, if necessary, will be played Tuesday, June 5 in Miami. The lowest listed price for a ticket to that contest is $135. That rock-bottom price rises to $150 for a potential Game Six in Boston, which would be played Thursday, June 7, and $174 for a possible winner-take-all Game Seven in Miami scheduled for Saturday, June 9.
History is on the side of brokers hoping for a long series. Last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, which the Heat won by beating the Chicago Bulls in five games was the first to not go at least six games since 2003. The Eastern Conference finals last went a full seven games in 2005, when the Detroit Pistons edged the Heat.