The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are deadlocked in the Eastern Conference Finals after four games, with the series returning to South Beach.
Both clubs have shown they have what it takes to advance to the NBA Finals in 2022 after each team stole a game on the road. The Celtics were able to control Game 4 from the start, winning by a score of 102-82.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum led the way with 31 points on 8/16 shooting, while Victor Oladipo added 23 points off the bench for Miami. On the road, the Celtics are a -1.5 point favorite, and the total is set at 203.5 points.
Celtics Look to Dominate Heat on the Road
As they approach the court Wednesday night in South Beach, Boston will be looking for their first series lead. In Game 4, the Celtics’ top-ranked defense was in great form, holding Miami to a shocking 33 percent shooting percentage while limiting Jimmy Butler to under ten points for the second consecutive game.
Overall, Boston allows the fewest points per game in the NBA, allowing only 104.5 points per game. They suffocate opposition shooters, allowing 43.5 percent from the field and 34% from beyond the arc on average.
The Celtics dominated Miami outrebounding the Heat 60-39, and tormented their opponents in the paint. Al Horford grabbed 13 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum added 31 points and eight rebounds.
Boston was efficient offensively in Game 4 as well, getting out to a huge early lead and coasting for most of the game. They particularly established themselves in the paint, outscoring the Heat of 38-28 in that category.
Miami Hopes to get back to Winning Ways at Home
After beating the Celtics 109-103 as 5.5-point road dogs in Game 3, the Heat team that finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season had a poor showing on Monday night.
Victor Oladipo led the way for Miami with 23 points and six assists. Only 18 points were scored by the entire starting lineup, with Jimmy Butler contributing six points, seven rebounds, and one assist.
In Game 4, the Heat shot only 33.3 percent from the field, and they also missed six of their 14 free throw tries while shooting 14 of 36 from beyond the arc. Additionally, the Heat scored only 28 points in the paint.
The offense has struggled at times, ranking 17th in the league with an average of 110 points per game. After being shut out in Game 4, they’ll need a lot more from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Miami will look to rely on their top-notch defense in Game 5 after ranking fourth in the league in defensive scoring defense, allowing only 105.5 points per game. It’s critical to find a method to stop Jayson Tatum, who has been the catalyst for the Celtics’ offense in the majority of their victories.
The Heat must improve their ability to compete on the boards. It won’t matter how they square up on either end of the floor if they’re outrebounded by 20 or more points again.
Celtics/Heat Betting Preview
After being blasted out in Game 4, I expect Miami to rebound with a much greater effort in Game 5, thanks to Butler and Adebayo’s much-improved performances. Miami, the NBA’s best three-point shooting team, will continue to improve from beyond the arc while establishing themselves in the paint and reducing the rebounding deficit.
Marcus Smart’s eventual absence in this road clash could be a concern for the Celtics. In addition, the Celtics will have a tough time in Miami, where the Heat are 6-2 ATS this postseason. I think the Celtics will have a hard time replicating their success on the road, and for that reason, I’ll back the home team in this one.
Betting Pick: Heat +1.5
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