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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 9-17-2020

Game Snapshot with Current Line

#701 Miami
Heat 2.5
#702 Boston
Celtics -2.5

Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 7:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Eastern Conference Finals could not have gotten off to a better start. Miami and Boston went to overtime in Game 1 of the series, as the Heat came away with a 117-114 victory on Tuesday night. They will play Game 2 on Thursday night, where the Celtics will try to level the score.

Adebayo's block propels Heat to series lead

Bam Adebayo made the biggest play of his short NBA career on Tuesday. Boston’s Jayson Tatum drove down the lane and went up for a game-tying dunk with several seconds remaining in overtime, but Adebayo turned him back at the rim and secured the rebound to give Miami the first game of the series. The Heat were trailing by double digits several times, including a 13-point deficit in the first quarter and a 14-point margin in the fourth quarter. They did what they have done throughout this year’s playoffs, though, showing fight and resiliency while improving to a league-best 9-1 in the 2020 postseason.

Point guard Goran Dragic paced Miami’s scoring efforts with 29 points on an 11 of 19 shooting clip. He made 3 of 6 from beyond the arc and cashed in on all four of his free throws. Small forward Jae Crowder was on fire from downtown, making 5 of 9 from 3-point land en route to a 22-point performance. Jimmy Butler, the team’s leader, scored 20 points on 7 of 14 shooting. He had a huge 3-point play down the stretch in overtime. Guard Tyler Herro provided 40 huge minutes off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He came up one assist shy of a triple-double but was still the team’s top facilitator. Duncan Robinson was in foul trouble for much of the game and only scored six points in 17 minutes.

Celtics collapse down the stretch

Boston will need to move on from Tuesday’s loss in a hurry. Otherwise, the Celtics might dwell on a game that they certainly should have won. They led by double figures at the beginning and end of the game, but could not seal the deal. Boston was 156-1 all-time when leading by 12 or more points going into the fourth quarter of a playoff game, but the 92-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday. Butler’s 3-pointer from the right corner with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation gave Miami the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter. Boston hit a free throw on the other end after an away-from-the-play foul, but could not come up with a game-winning shot in regulation.

Tatum led the Boston offense, despite coming up short against Adebayo on the dunk attempt. He scored 30 points on 10 of 24 shooting, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Guard Marcus Smart added six 3-pointers on 13 attempts, scoring 26 points overall. Kemba Walker had another rough playoff game, scoring 19 points on a 6 of 19 shooting clip. He went just 1 of 9 from beyond the arc, but did dish out a team-high six assists. Jaylen Brown scored 17 points and Brad Wanamaker was the only player off the bench in double figures with 11.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

I like Boston to bounce back and grab a win in this game. The Celtics were the better team during the regular season and were the better team for the majority of Tuesday’s game. Miami came up clutch in key moments, but variance should swing to Boston here. The Celtics simply need to string together some stops and hope the Heat do not shoot as well from beyond the arc. Boston has covered the spread in eight of its last 12 games. Walker should play much better on Thursday than he did in Game 1.

Prediction: Boston -2.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The over cashed in Game 1, but oddsmakers saw enough to bump the total down by a half-point. I agree with this move, but public money will probably be on the over. If the game had not gone to overtime and there had not been as much scoring in the final minute on Tuesday, it would have gone under the total. Miami is not going to shoot nearly 50 percent from the 3-point line again and Boston will be locked in on the defensive end of the court. Boston has gone under in 11 of its last 14 games, including eight of its 10 playoff games. These are two of the best defensive teams in the league.

Prediction: Under 208.5

Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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