Game: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Celtics +1.5, Heat -1.5
The Boston Celtics’ nine-game winning streak is over thanks to the Orlando Magic. The Celtics lost Wednesday night at Orlando, 113-98, for the third time in four meetings this season. The Magic, one of the worst teams in the NBA, have the Celtics number this season. The Celtics’ 98 points were among their lowest totals of the season, and on the second night of a back-to-back, they must now rebound against another defensive powerhouse.
Miami did win the most recent game between the teams played in Boston in a game that went to overtime. However, Boston does lead the season series 2-1. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is concerned about a number of injuries, including those to Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams III. All three players are listed as questionable for tonight.
It makes sense that the Heat would have more injury concerns going into a game, but that isn’t the case this time. Duncan Robinson is the only significant absence from the lineup. Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo are all back and performing well. Miami’s previous game was on Sunday, so they have the advantage of rest in this situation. They have a winning home record of 6-1 SU and are slight favorites in tonight’s game. Miami needed four players to score 20 or more points and an additional five minutes of play to defeat Boston the last time.
This season, playing on back-to-back nights has not affected Boston. The Celtics have gone 7-0 on the second night of a back-to-back. They are also 9-1 SU in their last 10 games and 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven against Miami. Boston is 6-1 SU in its last seven road games and the Celtics have covered in six of the last seven trips to South Beach.
The Celtics have been one of the top-scoring teams in the NBA all season long. Currently, they rank second scoring 118.5 points per game. However, the last two games Boston has scored just 98 and 106 points. Part of the problem was likely the absence of Smart and Brogdon and, if either or both doesn’t play tonight, Boston is going to have a tough time against the Heat.
Miami allows 108.4 points per 100 possessions, which ranks second in the NBA. The Heat also plays at one of the slower tempos on offense. Miami ranks 27th in terms of pace. It’s no surprise then that the Heat’s O/U record for the season is 21-26-1. The last ten games against Boston have produced an average of 213.9 points. The teams have faced some low numbers and, interestingly, the Over is 13-7 the last 20 times the Heat and Celtics have met. The Under is 5-1 in Boston’s last six games and 8-3 in Miami’s last 11. In three of their last five games, the Heat has held an opponent to 98 points or less.
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