Boston will be looking to avoid an inescapable 3-0 series deficit when it faces Miami on Saturday night. The Heat took a 2-0 lead with a come-from-behind 106-101 win on Thursday night in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Celtics coming off another blown leadBoston might be more interested in rushing Gordon Hayward back onto the court at this point. The Celtics are now trailing by a 2-0 count in the Eastern Conference Finals and could use a scoring boost from Hayward, who has been out with an ankle injury since the beginning of the playoffs. He could return on Saturday, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Hayward has participated in workouts this week and is planning to test the ankle on-court Friday and Saturday. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game during the regular season, shooting 50.0 percent from the floor.
The Celtics held a 17-point lead in Game 2 on Thursday, but they blew a double-digit lead for the second consecutive game. Point guard Kemba Walker led Boston with 23 points and seven rebounds. Forwards, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, each added 21 points. Center Daniel Theis scored six points and led the team in rebounding with eight boards. Guard Marcus Smart scored 14 points and cooled off from the 3-point line, making 2 of 6 from distance. Boston had a loud conversation in the locker room postgame, but the players shrugged it off in the postgame media session. The Celtics led by five with 4:25 left, but the Heat closed the game on a 17-7 run.
Heat come through clutch againMiami is becoming an incredible story this postseason. The Heat opened with a first-round sweep of Philadelphia and then knocked off No. 1 seed Milwaukee in the second round. They now hold a two-game lead against Boston and are looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since the LeBron James era. Miami had been 0-21 when trailing by at least 13 points at halftime of a playoff game, but it snapped that streak on Thursday. Head coach Erik Spoelstra notched his 81st career playoff win, which ties him for eighth all-time among NBA head coaches. Miami’s 20-point differential in the third quarter was the sixth time in Heat playoff history that they have outscored a team by 20 points in a quarter.
Point guard Goran Dragic led the scoring effort with 25 points on a 10 of 19 clip from the floor. He was also tied for the team-high in assists with five. Forward Bam Adebayo had another excellent game, scoring 21 points and completing his double-double with 10 rebounds. Shooting guard Duncan Robinson scored 18 points on six clutch 3-pointers. Jimmy Butler had a semi-quiet day, scoring 14 points on 4 of 11 shooting. However, he came up clutch with a 3-pointer when the team needed it most down the stretch. Jae Crowder hit three 3-pointers and Tyler Herro scored 11 points in 32 minutes off the bench.
- 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games
- 2-4 ATS in its last six games
- 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games vs. Miami
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s becoming almost impossible to fade this Miami team. The Heat have looked out of the game in each of the first two games, but they have been the clutch team down the stretch. Oddsmakers are not budging—in fact they bumped Boston from -2.5 in Game 2 to -3 in this game. The Celtics are now 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against Miami. Hayward returning could be a factor, but if he plays at all it will be limited minutes. I can’t see him playing a big enough role to take me off the Heat in this game.
Prediction: Miami +3
Full-Game Total Pick
The under did not cash in Game 1 due to a late scoring burst, but it held on to cash in Game 2 on Thursday night. I like the under again on Saturday night. Boston has now gone under in nine of its last 11 games. The Celtics are great on the defensive end, but they have struggled with consistency and efficiency on offense. Miami has also been under team throughout the postseason, going under in eight of its last 12 games. I will have to see something that changes my mind before I take the over in any game of this series.
Prediction: Under 206.5