Game: Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Odds: Heat +9, Celtics -9
In a repeat of last season, Boston lost Game 1 to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The loss didn’t deter the Celtics from winning the Eastern Conference finals a year ago. Boston will regroup tonight as they host the No. 8 seed Heat once again in Game 2.
Miami won 123-116 on Wednesday despite the second-seeded Celtics outperforming Miami in the first half. The Heat outscored Boston 46-25 in the third quarter and that proved to be the difference. Boston led by 13 late in the second quarter. Then, the Celtics fell apart and allowed Miami to hit 17-of-26 shots (65.4 percent) in the third quarter.
With 30 points in Game 1, Jayson Tatum led Boston, but he disappeared in the fourth. Tatum committed three of his four turnovers in the period but didn’t attempt a single field goal. Jaylen Brown finished the game with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Jimmy Butler of Miami was the best player on the court in Game 1 with 35 points, seven assists, six steals, and five rebounds. Butler is averaging 31.5 points over 11 games and has five 30-point performances this postseason. With the victory in Game 1, the Heat gained home-court advantage.
What Miami has done this season has been nothing short of incredible. Before shocking the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round and defeating the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals, Miami had to go through the play-in round to even qualify for the playoffs.
Heat center Bam Adebayo had 20 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday, Boston is in a must-win situation tonight. The Celtics cannot afford to lose Game 2 with Games 3 and 4 in Miami. They will have to play a complete game. Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla knows that the Celtics won three of the four quarters on Wednesday. That one quarter cost them.
Last year after the Game 1 loss, Boston destroyed Miami 127-102 in Game 2 to even the series. That series went a full seven games. Game 1 this year was Boston’s worst defensive performance since Game 3 of their opening round series with Atlanta. The Celtics lost to the Hawks 130-122 in that game. In the series with Philadelphia, Boston allowed the Sixers just 101.7 points per game.
Miami was the worst-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season averaging 109.3 points per game. In the postseason, the Heat is averaging 114.1 points per game. Butler has scored 27 or more points in seven of the Heat’s 11 playoff games so far this season. In his last two against the Celtics, he has scored at least 25 points.
Miami is now 8-2 SU and ATS in its last ten games. The Celtics are 13-7 SU in their last 20 games and 12-6 ATS in their last 18. Boston has won 11 of its last 15 games at home at TD Garden.
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