Game: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Celtics +3.5, Heat -3.5
The Miami Heat continues to get no respect. They weren’t supposed to be the best team in the East during the regular season, but they were. Miami easily beat Atlanta in Round 1 of the playoffs and then dispatched Philadelphia in six games in Round 2. The Heat were not favored to win this Eastern Conference series with Boston, but they proved in Game 1 that they should be.
Miami’s Jimmy Butler went off for 41 points and the Heat took a 1-0 lead with a 118-107 victory. Now, it’s on to Game 2 where the Heat are a slightly bigger favorite at -3.5. If the Celtics sleep on Butler, he’s going to continue his torrid playoff pace and lead the Heat to the NBA finals for the second time in three years. Butler is shooting 53.5 percent from the field. He averages 29.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.3 steals per game during the postseason. Butler has also had a 40-point game in each round of the playoffs.
As good as Butler and Miami were in Game 1, Boston did outplay the Heat in the first half. In fact, the Celtics led 62-54 at the half. It was Miami’s third quarter that did Boston in. The Celtics scored just 14 points while Butler and Miami managed 39. Boston can’t let that happen again. The Celtics will get NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart back and that should help. Boston will most likely still be without Al Horford though. Horford missed Game 1 due to COVID-19.
Keep in mind that after each of his previous 40-point playoff outings, Butler regressed in the next game. In Round 1, Butler came back after his 40-point game and had 20 in a loss to Atlanta. In the series with Philadelphia, Butler had 23 in a blowout win over the Sixers after scoring 40-plus. With the Game 1 victory, Miami is now 15-4 SU in its last 19 games and they are a perfect 10-0 SU in their last ten games at home. Of those last 19 games, Miami has a 14-5 ATS record.
Boston has not had much luck against the Heat recently. In the last six head-to-head meetings with Miami, Boston is 2-4 SU and ATS. Boston is, however, 12-4 ATS in its last 16 games and 9-1 ATS in its last ten games on the road.
What was interesting in Game 1 was the scoring. Game 1’s total was set at 203 and Boston and Miami ended up scoring 225 points. As a result, tonight’s total has ticked upward to 207.5. Both teams have trended Under in the postseason. Boston’s O/U record for the postseason is 5-7. Miami’s is 3-9.
The 118 points scored by Miami was the most that Boston has allowed all postseason. The 107 scored by the Celtics was just the third time in the playoffs that Miami gave up more than 105 points. The last three games between Miami and Boston have averaged 214.3 points and the last ten have averaged 222.